Ofcom repurposes 700MHz digital TV spectrum for mobile


Ofcom has begun repurposing some TV spectrum in the UK for use with mobile services in a bid to free up unused spectrum and increase the allowance available to UK consumers. The regulator today said it would make the 700MHz spectrum, currently used for digital terrestrial television, available for mobile broadband use by 2022.

Ed Richards, chief executive at the regulator, said:

“This is a crucial next step in the development of the UK’s communications infrastructure. This decision ensures that we are making the raw materials available with which investors and companies can build the services which will support the digital economy of the future.”

“More spectrum will be available for mobile broadband where demand is especially high, but the UK will retain a competitive terrestrial television platform as well.”

The move won’t be straightforward however; in order to repurpose the spectrum, both TV and the Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) sector will have to make changes. These changes will also require the modification of infrastructure and equipment at a cost of between £420 and £470 million for TV infrastructure and between £13m and £21m for equipment.

Ofcom says that the move is a necessity with mobile data usage set to soar by 45 times by 2030 and the additional spectrum will be required to meet the demand. The UK is expected to gain 5G services by 2020 and the new spectrum could be utilised for the next-generation mobile network.

Author: Nirave

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