31 March 2022

Ofcom's spectrum roadmap – hear from one of our directors

Cristina Data at the Mobile World Congress 2022

Today we’ve published our spectrum roadmap (PDF, 2.7 MB), a document that sets out the future of how we’ll manage spectrum based on the changing needs of the organisations, companies and people who use it.

To mark the publication, we’ve spoken to Cristina Data, Ofcom’s director of spectrum policy and analysis, about her background and current role in the world of spectrum, as well what she thinks might be the big developments to watch out for in future.

What’s your career background?

I am an industrial engineer by training and before joining Ofcom I worked for two mobile operators in market intelligence, strategy and business intelligence. I then joined a broadcasting company to help them set up their market intelligence and research unit within its strategy team.

What brought you to Ofcom?

An interest to see the sector from the regulator’s side.

What does your job involve?

I oversee our spectrum policy and analysis team. My job involves talking with stakeholders both nationally and internationally to get insight about developments in technology and applications that might drive spectrum demand or improve the way we manage spectrum.

It’s all about looking into the future and anticipating what is likely to have implications for us and how we discharge our duties and deliver against our vision for the sectors we regulate. And it’s not only about mobile!

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Engaging with a wide range of people from all over the world.

What is Ofcom’s role in spectrum, and why is it important?

Spectrum is the critical ingredient to make wireless communications work, from being able to use your mobile to watching TV, using wifi at home to connecting many devices via Bluetooth, improving productivity in factories and reducing environmental impact.

Ofcom’s role is to manage this finite resource to ensure we can all benefit from an increasing number of applications and services.

What do you think are the big developments to watch out for in the world of spectrum?

Demand is growing, from a wide range of services as wireless technologies enable new applications that benefit multiple industries and sectors.

We need to make sure everyone can access the spectrum they need, where and when they need it. Alongside increasing demand, technological developments are offering ways to better utilise spectrum, including opening up higher frequency bands to a wider range of applications and facilitating more efficient use of spectrum through sharing and improved methods of managing interference.

More data from real-world deployments will be critical to better inform our studies, and we also want to enable more testing for future uses.

What’s the best thing about working at Ofcom?

Obviously my colleagues, but also the opportunity to have a quite wide-ranging understanding of the market, which is more difficult when you work for a single, specific company

Do you have any favourite achievements from your work at Ofcom?

Definitely raising internally the importance of spectrum demand across different industries as part of our 5G programme of work.

What do you think the future holds for the sectors we regulate?

Massive change, in the value chain, in the business models and in the impact of the sector on consumers.

Interested in working in Ofcom's spectrum group? Check out our latest job vacancies.

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