A person using a mobile phone as they walk through a train station

Ofcom paves the way for improved 5G and innovative new wireless services

Published: 13 March 2023
Last updated: 16 March 2023

Ofcom has today confirmed that it will make millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum across the 26 GHz and 40 GHz bands available for new mobile technology, including 5G services.

This could deliver significant benefits by enabling large wireless data capacity and speeds. It can be used to improve mobile services and deliver innovative new services across the UK.

It will be particularly beneficial in locations and venues with a lot of mobile users, such as train stations, football stadiums and concerts, where demands on current networks mean mobile data speeds can be sluggish.

As well as mobile services, mmWave spectrum could, in future, also support innovative wireless applications requiring large amounts of data, very high speeds, or both. Early indications suggest this could include applications such as virtual reality, factory automation, and intelligent transport systems such as driverless cars.

We expect that new uses of mmWave spectrum will be mostly concentrated in areas with high levels of data traffic such as towns and cities. Ofcom will award citywide licences to use mmWave spectrum by auction and assign licenses for more localised licences on a first come, first served basis, using our Shared Access licensing framework.

We are now consulting on proposals for the design of the auction for citywide licences, the licence conditions for citywide and local mmWave licences, and how we will coordinate users of this spectrum.

We are inviting responses to the consultation by 22 May 2023.

For more information on mmWave spectrum and the benefits it could bring, take a look at our guide.

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