Huawei in conjunction with EcrossH has published a discussion paper entitled: “UK Radio Spectrum Report”. The review, commissioned by Huawei, explores the UK’s future spectrum needs and the extra resources that will be required to satisfy the growing demand for mobile data services.
The report concludes there is a consensus among mobile network operators that following the recent 4G auction in the UK, there is sufficient spectrum available to meet requirements over the short to medium-term. However additional spectrum resources will be required in the lead up to 2020 and even more spectrum in the following years.
According to Steve Roper, an independent spectrum specialist for EcrossH Ltd, work needs to start now to identify those spectrum bands which offer the best prospects for refarming: “Given the importance of mobile broadband data services to the economic prosperity of the UK, mobile networks must have access to appropriate spectrum resources as the volume of data traffic grows. Not all radio spectrum is the same and it is essential that mobile network operators have access to spectrum across a wide range of frequencies. This is like having the correct tool for the job. We have to start preparing for this now. Planning and delivering spectrum refarming projects takes time – the digital TV switchover, for example, took six years. Ofcom, European regulators and the industry as a whole should see this as a call to action.”
The report also suggests that there are five spectrum bands which hold the greatest potential for spectrum refarming to satisfy the projected growth in mobile data services: TV Broadcast band; L-Band; S-Band; Air Traffic Control Band (2700-2900 MHz); and Satellite services band (3400-4200 MHz). It concludes that in some spectrum bands it may be necessary to move incumbent users out in order to make way for mobile broadband services, as seen during the switchover from analogue to digital television which enabled the release of spectrum for 4G services. In other cases, sharing between new mobile broadband services and the incumbent users could also be possible, as for satellite services in the C-Band.
Victor Zhang, CEO, Huawei UK commented: “We very pleased to have supported the publication of this report and to have contributed to the debate on spectrum in the UK. The report concludes the release of spectrum bands in the UK must be aligned with the release of spectrum elsewhere in Europe if the UK is to benefit from new, competitively-priced communications technologies, while ensuring incumbent users continue to have access to appropriate spectrum resources. We must all work to ensure the UK has sufficient spectrum to support the higher predicted level of mobile broadband traffic.”