Ofcom to consult on its Mobile Data Strategy

Ofcom has published a consultation on its Mobile Data Strategy.

The objective of the consultation is to identify and prioritise actions which Ofcom could undertake to facilitate the continued long term growth in consumer and citizen benefits from increasing use of mobile data services.

This document considers the challenges that rapidly growing demand for these services could raise and what this may imply for Ofcom’s work over the coming years. In particular, we identify a number of spectrum bands where we think further work should be carried out to consider their potential future availability for mobile data use, whilst recognising the many other competing demands for spectrum.

Ofcom wants to ensure that the needs of existing users, such as broadcasters and users of wireless cameras and microphones, are appropriately protected and is working to increase the amount of spectrum available for mobile data in a number of areas:

  • 2.3 and 3.4 GHz bands: Ofcom is working closely with the Ministry of Defence to move this spectrum from the public sector into commercial use. This spectrum is suitable for mobile broadband and could be released through an auction in 2015-16. The public sector has access to just over half of the UK spectrum, and Ofcom is working with Government to identify ways of increasing opportunities for commercial access in the future.
  • 700 MHz band: While no decisions have yet been made, Ofcom is investigating the potential to rearrange the bands used for digital terrestrial TV. This could release more of this prime spectrum for mobile broadband use sometime after 2018, while ensuring that consumers would continue to have the opportunity to benefit from digital terrestrial TV.
  • White spaces: Over the next six months, around 20 organisations will be participating in an Ofcom pilot to road-test ‘white space’ technology. A variety of innovative applications will be tested – ranging from sensors that monitor the behaviour of cities, to dynamic information for road users and rural broadband in hard to reach places. These new services will utilise the gaps, or ‘white spaces’, that sit in the frequency band used to broadcast digital terrestrial TV.

Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “The demands for mobile data will only increase as millions more wireless devices connect to the internet and each other. We’re looking at ways to use spectrum more efficiently and consider future releases of prime spectrum. By doing so, we can help to meet the significant demands placed on our wireless infrastructure and develop one of the world’s leading digital economies.”

The consultation closes on 30 January 2014.

DTG Staff  |  21.11.2013

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