Ofcom to release new mmWave spectrum for auction

Regulator Ofcom has announced it will release more than 6 GHz of millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum available across the 26 GHz and 40 GHz bands to support the growth of 5G and mobile technology across the UK.

According to Ofcom, this spectrum has the potential to “deliver significant benefits by enabling large increases in wireless data capacity and speeds”. The regulator said it would provide sectors of industry including transport and events with “certainty of access to this spectrum to enable timely investment and innovation” on a shared access licensing framework.

EE, Vodafone, Ericsson, Qualcomm, and techUK have all expressed a preference for a 20 year licence term to support the “period of certainty” which Ericsson felt was “needed for operators to invest, expand and upgrade networks”.

The spectrum spanning the 26 GHz (24.25-27.5 GHz) and 40 GHz (40.5 GHz-43.5 GHz) bands and will be focussed on supporting use in locations and venues with a lot of mobile users, such as train stations, football stadiums and concerts, where demands on current networks mean mobile data speeds can be sluggish.

Ofcom is now consulting on proposals for the design of the auction for citywide licences, the licence conditions for citywide and local mmWave licences, and how it will coordinate users of this spectrum, in a consultation that will run until 22 May.

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