Update on revoking licences in the 40 GHz band

30 May 2023

Ofcom has decided to revoke all existing licences in the 40 GHz band, with five years notice. The revocations will take effect on 1 June 2028.

Background

On 13 March 2023, we published a statement and consultation (PDF, 3.6 MB) setting out our decision to begin the statutory process for revoking all existing block-assigned licences in the 40 GHz band. These licences are currently held by UK Broadband Limited (UKB) (PDF, 243.2 KB), MLL 40 GHz Limited (MLL) (PDF, 236.1 KB) and Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL) (PDF, 397.1 KB).

We explained that we made this decision because:

  1. we think the 40 GHz band is best used for mobile services, not fixed services; and
  2. reallocating the whole band at the same time as the 26 GHz band would ensure an efficient allocation of the combined bands in high-density areas.

On 25 May 2023, after considering licensees’ representations, we completed the statutory process for revoking existing licences in the 40 GHz band.

Since MBNL's licence covers certain frequencies within the 10 GHz and 32 GHz bands, as well as the 40 GHz band, we have decided to implement our decision by varying MBNL’s 40 GHz licence, with effect from 1 June 2028. This means that MBNL will no longer be authorised to use the 40.50–40.75 GHz and 42.00–42.25 GHz frequency blocks from that date.

We will offer temporary licences for a limited number of MBNL’s fixed links, if necessary

In light of MBNL’s representations, we will offer to grant MBNL individual temporary licences – starting on 1 June 2028 and expiring on 1 January 2030 – for up to 500 of its existing fixed links that:

  • are outside the top 10 high-density areas, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe and Stansted Airport; and
  • in relation to which MBNL provides suitable evidence to Ofcom that despite MBNL's reasonable efforts, the installation of the replacement link/fibre connection has been delayed for reasons outside of MBNL’s reasonable control.

Which are the top 10 high-density areas?

Greater London, Greater Manchester, Greater Glasgow, Greater Birmingham, Cardiff & Newport, Tyne & Wear, Bristol & Bath, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Leeds & Bradford Area.

We have published shapefiles (ZIP, 20.1 KB) that set out the geographical boundaries of these areas.

As set out in our March 2023 statement and consultation (PDF, 3.6 MB), we will also offer to grant individual fixed licences to MBNL and UKB for links already in place in the 40 GHz band, where they are not in or around high-density areas.