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LS telcom study find little benefit in defragmenting the 694-960 MHz band

An LS telcom study commissioned by the UK Spectrum Policy Forum (SPF) in response to proposals to re-plan and defragment the 694 to 960 MHz band, has found that the overall capacity benefits from doing so would be small compared to the gains promised by future technology developments such as 5G and the use of higher frequency bands.

LS telcom also found that the proposed defragmentation would impose a considerable cost burden on mobile network operators, who would need to upgrade every base station in their network, for a fractional increase in capacity.

The report said that: “The cost to an operator to upgrade its whole network (£1bn) for defragmentation is almost comparable to the value of the whole 800 MHz band (2 x 30 MHz – estimated at £1.6bn from the outcome of the 4G spectrum auction) to gain an additional two per cent (approximately) capacity relative to total licensed bandwidth per operator.”

It also concluded that: “By 2030 operators are likely to have other, probably lower cost, methods of improving capacity that will not suffer the potential practical constraints of sub 1GHz TDD (time division duplex) or require re-engineering every site in the network. We believe that network operators should be consulted to assess if they believe the potential benefits outweigh the costs.”

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