UK TELECOMS WATCHDOG Ofcom has outlined proposals for future spectrum holdings that could be used for 5G services, as it starts to consider the next era of mobile data services in the UK.
Ofcom's Update on 5G Spectrum in UK document outlines three particularly suitable bands that have been identified.
The first is the 700MHz band currently used for digital television services and programme-making and special events (PSME). Ofcom said it hopes to have this band cleared no later than Q2 of 2020 so that it can be offered up for 5G use.
The second, and likely most common frequency holding for 5G, would be between 3.4GHz and 3.8GHz.
A 150MHz slice of frequency between 3.4 and 3.8GHz is already set to be auctioned soon and Ofcom said that it is in the final stages of assessing responses received to its proposals for how this should operate.
The final band is between 24.25GHz and 27.5GHz, which Ofcom says would be something of a "pioneer" frequency that would provide "ultra-high capacity for innovative new services, enabling new business models and sectors of the economy to benefit from 5G".
Ofcom said it would publish a consultation on this proposal in the second half of 2017.
Overall the telecoms watchdog said it was confident it has put forward a strong mix of spectrum offerings to help ensure the UK is well placed for the next era of mobile data: "The choice of 700 MHz, 3.4 to 3.8 GHz and 26 GHz will create the best opportunity for the UK to benefit from the first wave of 5G equipment."
However, it also stressed that it would be vital for the UK to ensure it had the same spectrum ecosystem as other major nations to ensure device compatibility in numerous regions.
"Global availability is a primary objective: we see this as essential to provide the environment for a vibrant market in affordable consumer 5G devices."
5G is expected to offer a huge increase in speed, capacity and latency over older mobile data technologies, with a previous Ofcom 5G document suggesting speed as high as 50Gbps could be attained. µ
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