Ofcom seeks industry views to lay 5G foundations

Communications regulator Ofcom is seeking contribution from the industry to lay the groundwork for the UK’s next generation of wireless communications.

Known currently as ‘5G’, these future mobile communications could use very high frequency spectrum above 6 GHz, as well as the current mobile spectrum from 800MHz-2.6GHz.

According to Ofcom, this could support a variety of uses, ranging from financial trading and entertainment to gaming and holographic projections. Such spectrum could support these applications even in high demand, densely populated areas, like city centres.

The key issue for 5G services is developing the commercial use of the spectrum above 6 GHz without infringing upon the spectrum’s current non-commercial uses, from scientific research to satellite broadcasting and weather monitoring.

Ofcom’s role, in this respect, is to manage the limited supply of spectrum, taking into account current and future demands and allowing these different services to exist alongside each other.

Steve Unger, Ofcom’s acting chief executive, said: "We want the UK to be a leader in the next generation of wireless communications. Working with industry, we want to lay the foundations for the UK's next generation of wireless communications.

"5G must deliver a further step change in the capacity of wireless networks, over and above that currently being delivered by 4G. No network has infinite capacity, but we need to move closer to the ideal of there always being sufficient capacity to meet consumers' needs."

The timeframe for the launch of 5G has not been established, but Ofcom believe commercial applications could emerge by 2020, subject to research and development and international agreements for aligning frequency bands.

Input and contribution from industry figures are key in this research and development stage. The closing date for responses is 27th February 2015.

DTG Staff  |  20.01.2015

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