By February 13, 2009

Ofcom looks to boost mobile broadband

image UK communications regulator Ofcom has taken the next steps in its plan to release more radio spectrum to support mobile broadband services. The watchdog has launched a consultation today on proposals that could lead to faster, more reliable wireless broadband services in homes, offices and businesses across the UK. "In particular we are consulting on how we should implement a proposed European Directive and a draft Radio Spectrum Decision that would require the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands to be made available for UMTS (3G) as well as GSM (2G) technologies," said Ofcom in the summary section of its consultation.

Ofcom’s action follows the government’s interim Digital Britain report last month which " encouraged the industry to agree a set of spectrum trades by the end of April 2009".

The position is complicated by the legal action being taken by mobile operators T-Mobile and O2 over Ofcom’s plan to auction radio spectrum in the 2.6GHz region. The plan to re-use the 900MHz spectrum, which would be more efficient for use in mobile broadband services, could see quicker resolution of the legal dispute.

Two of the mobile operators that would lose out with the new proposals are Vodafone and O2, as they would be required to release 10MHz of spectrum in total, made up of two 5MHz blocks, to the market through an auction to be held by Ofcom in summer 2010.

Vodafone and O2 will be given two years in which to clear and release this spectrum, "a period that we judge long enough for them to be able to clear this spectrum without causing significant disruption to existing customers," said Ofcom.

The auction is "likely to be about a year in advance of the spectrum becoming available with Vodafone and O2 prohibited from acquiring the released spectrum through this auction."

via Yahoo

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