Discussion paper: Opportunities for dynamic or adaptive approaches to managing spectrum in the UK

Published: 28 March 2023
Last updated: 28 March 2023

Enabling users to share spectrum in the most efficient ways is key to supporting the growth in demand for wireless spectrum, and supporting innovation. In response to growing demand for spectrum, and in light of emerging technological developments, Ofcom has considered the potential benefits of more flexible and ‘adaptive’ spectrum management solutions.

In this discussion paper, we explore the opportunities and challenges associated with applying flexible, increasingly time-based spectrum management approaches (often referred to as Dynamic Spectrum Access) in the UK. We consider that more automation, and better availability of interference and spectrum usage data, can deliver significant gains in efficiency and user experience with or without more time-based and adaptive spectrum authorisation. We also recognise that such time-based and adaptive approaches hold promise, but may best suit the needs of users where this provides a top-up to a user’s existing spectrum holdings, given the importance many users place on being able to maintain quite consistent levels of service quality. We further consider that the equipment ecosystem available to users will need to adapt and mature to better support flexibility and frequency agility, and that consideration should be given to the potential for more open and standardised forms of communication between individual devices and central coordinating databases to enable more sharing opportunities, without the requirement for bespoke band-by-band solutions.

There is potential for such dynamic and adaptive approaches to play a part in addressing future spectrum management challenges, including for the wireless broadband’s evolution to 6G, and we encourage stakeholders with interests in these areas to engage with our ongoing Spectrum Sandboxes project to test their approaches. Comments relating to our discussion paper can also be directed to spectrum.roadmap@ofcom.org.uk.

(If you are providing comments, please include ‘ASA’ in your email header, to ensure your message is captured by the most appropriate workstream leads).

Read the full report

Opportunities for dynamic or adaptive approaches to managing spectrum in the UK: Discussion paper (PDF, 600.5 KB)

Opportunities for dynamic or adaptive approaches to managing spectrum in the UK: Annexes (PDF, 788.4 KB)

Back to top