Regulator Ofcom has announced plans to open the millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum to mobile technology and 5G services across the 26 GHz and 40 GHz spectrum bands.

According to Ofcom, the use of mmWave spectrum could deliver “significant benefits by enabling large wireless data capacity and speed over short distances” to improve mobile broadband services across the UK. As well as mobile services, mmWave spectrum could also support innovative wireless applications including virtual reality, factory automation, and intelligent transport systems in the future.

It is expected the technology could be applied in locations and venues with a lot of mobile users such as train stations, football stadiums and concerts, where demands on current networks can mean mobile data speeds can be sluggish.

Ofcom has said its proposals will include plans to revoke fixed links licences in some areas and to make a combination of citywide and local licences available in the 26 GHz band as well as variations or revoking existing licences in the 40 GHz band.

As part of wider proposals to unlock new and innovative wireless technologies for everyday use, Ofcom said it was also planning to increase the amount of spectrum available for Short-Range Device (SRD) uses including for road safety, low power Wi-Fi and drones. These devices include portable consumer-tech products such as keyless entry cards, baby monitors and garage door openers.

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