Ofcom opens overview of UK spectrum regime for personal and shared 5G

Ofcom opens overview of UK spectrum regime for personal and shared 5G

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has opened a six-week session with a view to open extra mobile spectrum for shared and personal utilization. It stated the success of its Shared Entry Licence (SAL) framework, which opened 4 bands for a spread of enterprise customers in 2019, together with a seismic 400 MHz chunk of prime mid-band spectrum at 3.8-4.2 GHz, has seen greater than 1,600 licences issued, and prompted its newest overview.

Ofcom desires to make “enhancements… to assist [its] unique coverage intention” to make spectrum obtainable for UK enterprises, and in addition for operators seeking to assist them. It said: “As innovation stimulates larger demand for restricted spectrum useful resource(s), spectrum sharing turns into ever extra necessary.” The session interval closes Might 16, and is offered as the beginning of a “renewed dialogue… to tell… pondering” round a revised framework. 

The session, opened on the finish of March, seeks to construct on its 2019 launch of “easy, low-cost” spectrum, obtainable to enterprises in a “fast … method”, at 3.8-4.2 GHz, the place most non-public LTE and 5G exercise has targeted, in addition to at 1781.7-1785 MHz (paired with 1876.7-1880 MHz), 2390-2400 MHz, and within the the decrease 26 GHz band for indoor utilization. It stated 850 licences have been issued since 2020, when the SAL framework was correctly in place. 

A graphic (see under) suggests Ofcom granted round 260 non-public 5G licences within the 3.8-4.3 GHz band in 2021, rising to round 320 in 2022, and sitting (curiously, solely) at round 40 within the first quarter of 2023.

It famous strikes (see under) by France and Norway, and Sweden in restricted trend, to align on the three.8-4.3 GHz band, which is the topic additionally of a CEPT mandate on EU harmonisation. “The three.8-4.2 GHz band represents the world of best demand and progress,” it stated, suggesting as effectively that native 400 MHz allowances will not be sufficient in the long run for future Trade 4.0 eventualities. 

“Mounted-wireless entry and personal community suppliers predominate on this band, adopted by a ‘lengthy tail’ of assorted makes use of… A big proportion are requesting vital bandwidths, with greater than three quarters requesting 100 MHz, to assist larger capability providers,” it stated. Ofcom instructed restricted availability, at present, of 4 GHz suitable units has additionally restricted spectrum availability, successfully – and stated the ecosystem has work to do alongside.

Ofcom is on the lookout for steering on future use instances for personal and shared mobile, exceptions to its present rule on mid/high-power deployments in city areas, in addition to common suggestions on the licensing course of. It additionally took the chance to restate that licence purposes might be automated and accelerated, according to the equal CBRS system within the US (at 3.55-3.7 GHz).

Ofcom stated: “We acknowledge that some stakeholders have been pissed off with the time taken to course of their licence purposes, and that administrative facets of our techniques and strategy might be refined. We’re already engaged on the automation of our licensing processes, to supply a greater consumer expertise and considerably cut back the time taken to entry spectrum. This work is being delivered in phases.”

The total session doc is out there right here. It commented: “Many industries are transferring to digitise their techniques, typically utilizing wi-fi expertise as a key enabler of this, resulting in an elevated demand for spectrum. Developments in expertise are additionally making it potential for companies to deploy their very own networks to automate their processes and improve effectivity.”