Ofcom assures that there will be plenty of spectrum for 5G

By Kevin Thomas 26 April 2016

5G networks

5G networks are expected to start becoming commercially available by 2020, a date which is getting ever closer. For that to be the case a large amount of infrastructure will need to be in place and a huge amount of spectrum available for use.

But Philip Marnick, the director of Ofcom’s spectrum policy group, has said that second requirement won’t be a problem.

Speaking at a Westminster eForum in London, he said that despite the spectrum requirements from other industries such as broadcast and satellite the mobile industry would have more than enough bandwidth.

“I have every intention of making sure the UK has the spectrum it needs for 5G. When 5G arrives, the UK will have the spectrum assets to make that work,” he assured, according to TechWeekEurope.

This spectrum will come from a variety of sources. Already Ofcom is planning to sell off 190MHz of spectrum from the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands, at an auction later this year.

Ofcom is also planning to release spectrum in the 700MHz band, which is currently used in many countries for digital terrestrial television services.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ofcom plans to release or share at least 500MHz of spectrum for civilian use by 2020 and Marnick reckons there might be as much as 32GHz in bands which aren’t really used.

As well as freeing up spectrum Ofcom is also looking at spectrum sharing, allowing multiple industries to use it so it can maximise its potential.

The development of a spectrum sharing network is set to start with 3.8-4.2GHz in the C-Band. This is currently used for satellite broadband, fixed links and fixed wireless broadband services, and according to Marnick:

“We chose this spectrum because it has good propagation characteristics for a number of services. We think it is a useful, stable band.”

With all these different plans in the works it’s not too hard to believe that the UK really will have enough 5G spectrum.

About Kevin Thomas

Editor at 5G.co.uk

Kevin Thomas has worked in the world of Telecom reporting for over 17 years. He reviewed the first 3G phone way back in 2003, reviewed the first 4G phone in 2012 and now he's keen to welcome in the first 5G phone too. Kevin previously worked for over 15 years within the Telecom industry including: AT&T in Europe, BT in the UK and Phillips in the Netherlands. He holds a HND in Telecommunications.

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