Mobile and wireless broadband
Fixed wireless access (FWA) systems are a means of making fixed connections between users’ premises and telecommunication networks. They may deliver a range of electronic traffic, including telephony, high speed data, television and multimedia services.
At higher frequencies, the availability of wider bandwidths and the technical characteristics provide opportunities for delivering broadband wireless access (BWA), including as a backhaul for other telecommunications services. The 3 GHz band, previously used for BWA for delivering ‘last mile’ connections to user premises, is now developing as a core band for 5G mobile services.
There are currently a variety of access technologies that can be used for the delivery of broadband and fixed wireless access. These include, but are not limited to; WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access), LTE (Long Term Evolution), HSPA (High Speed Packet Access), WCDMA (Wide band – Code Division Multiple Access) etc.
The choice of spectrum bands for such technologies is primarily a decision for industry. Ofcom does not allocate spectrum to particular access technologies, and where a licence has been issued in a technology neutral manner, the holder of that licence will be able to make their own choice of access technology.
Ofcom’s Spectrum Information System gives information about particular spectrum bands (UKPFA) and current tradable licences (WTR), including contact details of licensees. Spectrum trading is described in the Trading Guidance Notes (PDF, 668.3 KB).
Licence-exempt short range wideband data transmission systems are permitted in the 2.4 GHz band, described in the information pages for short-range devices and are subject to meeting the technical requirements set out for 2.4 GHz in the UK Interface Requirement IR 2030 (PDF, 930.9 KB).
2.3 GHz and 3.4 – 3.8 GHz
In 2018, Ofcom awarded licences by auction in the 2.3 (2350-2390 MHz) and 3.4 GHz (3410-3600 MHz) spectrum bands, alongside a licence already held by UK Broadband Ltd: Spectrum Access 3.5 GHz (3480-3500 MHz and 3580-3600 MHz).
UK Broadband also holds a Spectrum Access 3.6 GHz licence (3600-3680) in the adjacent spectrum band. This licence includes spectrum in the 3.9 GHz band (3925-4009 MHz).
In 2021, Ofcom awarded licences by auction in the remaining spectrum of the 3600-3800 MHz band (and 700 MHz band).
These bands are harmonised across Europe for mobile broadband and are likely to be used for 4G and 5G services. Details of current licences and licensees are available on our Mobile and wireless broadband below 5 GHz page.
2.3 and 3.8 – 4.2 GHz Shared Access
Spectrum is available for applications in the 2390-2400 MHz and 3.8 – 4.2 GHz bands (among others) for Shared Access use.
Licence-exempt short range wireless access systems and radio local area networks are permitted at low power levels in the 5 GHz Bands A, B and C (5150-5350 MHz, 5470-5725 MHz & 5725 – 5850 MHz), described in the information pages for short-range devices subject to meeting the technical requirements set out for 5 GHz WAS/RLAN in the UK Interface Requirement IR 2030 (PDF, 930.9 KB).
Licences are also available for Fixed Wireless Access in 5.8 GHz Band C (5725 – 5850 MHz) on a non-exclusive basis at higher power than the exempt devices level. Details of the licensing process are available on our 5.8 GHz Fixed Wireless Access page.
An overview of available options in the 5 GHz bands is published in 5GHz Wireless Access Systems (PDF, 135.7 KB).
10 GHz, 28 GHz, 32 GHz and 40 GHz
In November 2000, the Radiocommunications Agency auctioned 28 GHz Broadband Fixed Wireless Access licences, offering packages of 2 x 112 MHz in each of 11 English regions, plus Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In 2008, Ofcom auctioned spectrum suitable for Broadband Wireless Access in four frequency bands:
- 10 GHz band: 10.125-10.225 GHz paired with 10.475-10.575 GHz;
- 28 GHz bands: 27.8285-28.4445 GHz paired with 28.8365-29.4525 GHz;
- 32 GHz band: 31.815-33.383 GHz; and
- 40 GHz band: 40.5-43.5 GHz.
This included the remaining unsold spectrum packages from the previous 28 GHz award, which have since been liberalised (PDF, 510.3 KB) in order to align their operating and technical conditions with those from the 2008 award.
Frequency bands licensed for mobile and wireless broadband
|Frequency band||Uplink (base receive)||Downlink (base transmit)|
|700 MHz||703 – 733 MHz||738 – 758 MHz|
|758 – 788 MHz|
|800 MHz||832 – 862 MHz||791 – 821 MHz|
|900 MHz||880 – 915 MHz||925 – 960 MHz|
|1400 MHz||-||1452 – 1492 MHz|
|1800 MHz||1710 – 1781.7 MHz||1805 – 1876.7 MHz|
|Shared Access||1781.7 – 1785 MHz||1876.7 – 1880 MHz|
|2100 MHz||1920 – 1980 MHz||2110 – 2170 MHz|
|1900 – 1920 MHz|
|2300 MHz||2350 – 2390 MHz|
|Shared Access||2390 – 2400 MHz|
|2600 MHz||2500 – 2570 MHz||2620 – 2690 MHz|
|2570 – 2620 MHz|
|3 GHz||3410 – 3800 MHz|
|3.6 GHz||3600 – 3680 MHz|
|3925 – 4009 MHz|
|Shared Access||3800 – 4200 MHz|
|10 GHz||10.125 – 10.225 GHz|
|10.475 – 10.575 GHz|
|28 GHz||27.8285 – 28.4445 GHz|
|28.8365 – 29.4525 GHz|
|32 GHz||31.815 – 32.571 GHz|
|32.627 – 33.383 GHz|
|40 GHz||40.5 GHz – 43.5 GHz|
Interface requirements, co-ordination and coverage documents
- IR 2107 – Terrestrial systems capable of providing ECS in the 700 MHz band (PDF, 209.3 KB)
- IR 2090 – Terrestrial systems capable of providing ECS in the 800 MHz band (PDF, 104.1 KB)
- IR 2101 – Backhaul for Emergency Services Gateway equipment in the 800 MHz and 1800 MHz bands
(PDF, 61.1 KB)
- IR 2014 – Public Wireless Networks (PDF, 140.0 KB)
- IR 2087 – 900 / 1800 MHz LTE and WiMAX (PDF, 141.7 KB)
- IR 2019 – Third Generation Mobile (PDF, 140.2 KB)
- IR 2100 – Terrestrial systems capable of providing ECS in the band 1899.9-1920 MHz (PDF, 124.4 KB)
- IR 2092 – Terrestrial systems capable of providing ECS in the bands 1920-1980 MHz and 2110-2170 MHz (PDF, 105.8 KB)
- IR 2102 – Licence exempt static indoor and low gain mobile phone repeaters (PDF, 248.3 KB)
- IR 2068 – For Spectrum Access in the Band 1452 – 1492 MHz (PDF, 103.4 KB)
- IR 2098 – Terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communications services in the 2.3 GHz band (PDF, 115.7 KB)
- IR 2072 – Terrestrial systems capable of providing ECS in the band 2500 to 2690 MHz (PDF, 157.3 KB)
- IR 2015 – Spectrum Access in the 3400 to 4009 MHz band (PDF, 122.3 KB)
- IR 2097 – Spectrum Access 3.4 to 3.8 GHz (PDF, 137.1 KB)
- IR 2103 – Shared Access Low Power (PDF, 226.3 KB)
- IR 2104 – Shared Access Medium Power (PDF, 228.2 KB)
- IR 2105 – Shared Access 26 GHz indoors (PDF, 148.0 KB)
- IR 2047 – Spectrum Access 10 GHz (PDF, 119.2 KB)
- IR 2048 – Spectrum Access 28 GHz (PDF, 120.7 KB)
- IR 2049 – Spectrum Access 32 GHz (PDF, 119.7 KB)
- IR 2067 – Spectrum Access 40 GHz (PDF, 100.8 KB)
- IR 2106 – Spectrum Access: Extremely High Frequencies (PDF, 269.4 KB)
- IR 2107 – Terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communications services in the 700 MHz band
(PDF, 209.3 KB)
- UMTS 900 coordination procedure (PDF, 239.4 KB) (for UMTS900 with GSM-R)
- 2.3 GHz band MoD co-ordination procedure (PDF, 254.7 KB)
3.4 GHz band MoD co-ordination procedure (PDF, 274.0 KB)
3.6-3.8 GHz band MoD co-ordination procedure (PDF, 245.6 KB)
- 2.6 GHz band radar co-ordination procedure (PDF, 401.6 KB)
3.4 GHz band radar co-ordination procedure (PDF, 264.6 KB)
- Protected radar list (PDF, 125.1 KB)
- Civil airfield boundary maps
- MOD airfield boundary maps
- 3.6-3.8 GHz band fixed link interim coordination procedure (PDF, 168.6 KB)
- 3.6-3.8 GHz band restriction zones around satellite earth stations (PDF, 193.0 KB)
- 28 GHz spectrum co-existence document (PDF, 776.4 KB)
- Mobile coverage
- Mobile indoor and in-vehicle repeaters
- Mobile operational and engineering enquiries and advice
- Exposure to electromagnetic fields
- Mobile virtual network operators
- Mobile and wireless broadband below 5GHz
- Mobile and wireless broadband above 5GHz
- Spectrum bands and licence areas for 28 GHz (PDF, 126.7 KB)
International co-ordination MOUs
Administered Incentive Pricing (AIP) and cost-based fees
Mobile cellular fees
Most mobile spectrum licences are still within the initial periods granted under award processes and are not subject to further spectrum fees until these periods expire.
However, spectrum in the 900 and 1800 MHz frequency bands that was licensed before the use of spectrum auctions is subject to annual payment of spectrum fees. In 2010, the Government directed Ofcom to revise the fees for 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum licences to reflect the full market value of those frequencies. Since then some spectrum in the 3 GHz band has also become subject to fees.
Ofcom consulted in June 2018 on Annual Licence Fees for 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands and in December 2018 on Annual Licence Fees for 3.4 GHz and 3.6 GHz spectrum, which have now been implemented.
Channel Islands and Isle of Man
- The Wireless Telegraphy (Licence Charges for the 900 MHz Frequency Band and the 1800 MHz Frequency Band) Regulations 2018
- The Wireless Telegraphy (Licence Charges for the 3.4 GHz Frequency Band and the 3.6 GHz Frequency Band) Regulations 2019
- The Wireless Telegraphy (Licence Charges) Regulations 2020
- The Wireless Telegraphy (Licence Charges) (Amendment) Regulations 2021