What about the delayed auction for more 4G capacity?
Communications regulator Ofcom has opened a consultation on the first tranche of its 5G spectrum auction. The consultation presents its initial thinking on how it could expand spectrum access for mobile services in the 3.6 – 3.8 GHz band, said the regulator. The band is currently used by fixed links and by satellite services for space to Earth reception. "We consider this band a high priority band for future mobile use, due to the large amount of spectrum available and the interest in this band for the rollout of future 5G services (the fifth generation of mobile connectivity technology, which is currently being developed)," it said in a statement.
National regulators across Europe and industry have identified the wider 3.4 to 3.8 GHz band as a potential first 5G band. Ofcom is proposing to make 116 MHz within the 3.6 to 3.8 GHz band available for mobile and 5G services. However, as ISP Review points out, 5G technology is expected to deliver its best speeds using much higher frequencies. International 5G standards are also yet to be set and are not expected to come into force until 2017. Ofcom has promised there would be enough spectrum available for 5G networks by the time they became commercially available in 2020.
The regulator is also expected to open a consultation on its delayed spectrum auction for further 4G capacity. But a number of telcos have called on the regulator to impose a 30 per cent cap on operators bidding in the next spectrum auction. That move would limit the proportion of airwaves an operator can own, and inhibit bids from EE and Vodafone. The consultation for 5G spectrum will close on by 5pm on 1 December 2016.