Discussion paper: Meeting future demand for mobile data
- Start: 09 February 2022
- Status: Closed
- End: 08 April 2022
In this discussion document we set out our initial thinking on future demand for mobile services and how mobile networks may need to evolve to meet that demand.
Mobile data traffic has grown by an average of 40% year on year in recent years and we expect that growth to continue (acknowledging there is there is a high degree of uncertainty about the rate of growth, particularly beyond 2030). Mobile networks will need to evolve to meet future demand and deliver the quality of experience needed by consumers and businesses. There are a number of ways in which they might do this, including:
- More extensive deployment of existing spectrum holdings and planned future spectrum for mobile e.g. in the millimetre wave (mmWave) bands. We will consult on our approach to making mmWave spectrum available shortly;
- Using technology upgrades to increase the efficiency of the spectrum they use; and
- Network densification – deploying more cell sites – in particular, using small cells to leverage the capacity offered by the large bandwidths available from mmWave spectrum.
Alongside this document we have published a discussion paper (PDF, 1.4 MB) setting out our future approach to mobile markets. We are not making any proposals at this stage. Instead we seek the views of stakeholders and others on the right way forward. We hope to encourage longer-term thinking about how public mobile networks in the UK may adapt. We will take stakeholder inputs into account as we develop our future strategy for mobile spectrum.
Figure 4 in the discussion paper (PDF, 3.4 MB) below has been updated to reflect the most recent data set at the time of publication.