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IN : 5G spectrum

Significant shift in UK spectrum policy

OFCOM will release spectrum in both shared and licensed spectrum, already paid for by mobile operators

The UK telecoms regulator will release spectrum in both shared spectrum bands and in licensed spectrum, already paid for by mobile operators for national coverage. It follows a general move towards spectrum liberalization in other markets, notably the US and Germany, geared towards industrial transformation.

Ofcom will be dedicating the 3.8-4.2 GHz band for local deployments (thus will not be sold to national mobile operators), as well as the 26 GHz spectrum band for private and shared access. Ofcom will grant local shared-access licenses in the 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz shared bands, sections of which are licensed to mobile operators running public networks.

The lower 26 GHz band, harmonized across Europe as the pioneer millimeter band for public 5G, has also been opened up for shared access. This is geared towards indoor-only deployments. Meanwhile, Ofcom has moved to grant local access to spectrum that is already licensed to mobile operators, but is not used or scheduled for use in the particular area. This covers vacant local spectrum holdings in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1400 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2600 MHz and 3.4 GHz bands.

Ofcom will charge an average annual licence fee of 320 GBP (350 EUR), based on a 40MHz holding. It calculates 80 GBP (87 EUR) per 10 MHz in all bands, except 1800 MHz, which will be available at 80 GBP for 2 x 3.3 MHz. Licences will be for three years as default, and may be revoked, if not in use, with one month’s notice.

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