This document sets out our proposals to make spectrum in the 700 MHz band available for mobile broadband from 2022 or possibly up to two years earlier. It presents our assessment of the costs and benefits of such a change and invites comments on our proposals as part of a public consultation.
Digital terrestrial television (DTT) and Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) services currently use the 700 MHz band as well as other frequencies. DTT provides UK viewers with high quality free to view television and PMSE underpins many important cultural and social activities.
The proposed change would involve moving parts of these services from the 700 MHz band to other frequencies. However, it should also result in significant benefits to citizens and consumers, such as improvements to mobile networks and cheaper mobile broadband services.
We need to ensure that any change that occurs safeguards the important benefits that DTT and PMSE services deliver to citizens and consumers. The document explains how it would be possible to make the 700 MHz band available to mobile broadband without compromising the benefits provided by DTT or PMSE, and without causing significant disruption to television viewers.
Following this consultation, we expect to reach decisions on any potential changes in use of the 700 MHz spectrum band in late 2014 or early 2015.
Alongside this consultation we are also publishing a statement on our mobile data strategy and a discussion document on the future of free to view TV.
As part of further work on the Analysys Mason 700 MHz network cost saving model we have identified an error in how the model allocates traffic between different devices. This error caused the model to underestimate the network cost savings and performance benefits of change of use of the 700 MHz band by around 10%. Correcting this error provides further support for our decision to make spectrum in the 700 MHz band available for mobile data use. As a result we have not amended the statement published on 19/11/14. The table here JPEG, 41.3 KB summarises the impact of correcting the error on the four scenarios discussed in Section 4 of the consultation and statement (see paragraphs 4.25 and 4.43 in the consultation and paragraphs 4.7 and 4.20 in the statement).