We carry out strategic work in spectrum management, including making sufficient spectrum available for 5G, spectrum clearance, spectrum awards and many other on-going projects.
Key spectrum-related work areas for the current year are:
You can read more details about these projects further down this page.
We are preparing to make sufficient spectrum available for 5G. We are also playing a critical role in international discussions on bands for 5G in CEPT and ITU. In addition, we will be preparing for the next World Radiocommunications Conference in 2019 where spectrum bands for 5G are expected to be identified globally.
Our mobile data strategy is our long term strategy to address the increasing use of data by mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops. There are a number of ways to increase the capacity of mobile networks to deal with this growth, such as more efficient technology and greater use of small cells, but use of additional spectrum is likely to be part of the solution. Our mobile data strategy identifies spectrum bands for potential mobile use and prioritises our efforts on these. It describes what we plan to do to better understand the possibilities for each band, and, where appropriate, ensure there is an option for future mobile use. We updated our strategy in June 2016 to take into account new developments such as developments in 5G technology.
We have consulted on our space spectrum strategy, which sets out Ofcom’s proposed strategy for the management of spectrum used by the satellite and space science (including earth observation) sectors. These sectors deliver important benefits to UK citizens and consumers, such as broadcast TV, global positioning, communications to ships and aircraft, satellite imagery and information about our climate. There is potential for greater benefits in the future and, once confirmed, the strategy will shape the prioritisation of our work in these sectors over the coming years.
Our Space Spectrum Strategy covers the use of spectrum by the satellite and space science sectors, including meteorological and earth observation satellites.
These sectors already deliver important benefits and our strategy sets out the priorities on which we will focus to enable even greater benefits in the future:
Delivery of these priorities sits alongside our on-going activities in these sectors, including management of satellite filings and earth station licensing.
Details relating to the development of our current Space Spectrum Strategy are available here:
Ofcom has a duty to secure the optimal use of the radio spectrum. A key part of achieving this is to release available spectrum to the market, generally by means of an auction.
Start: 21 November 2016, End: 30 January 2017
The 2.3 and 3.4 GHz spectrum is needed to provide additional capacity to meet growing consumer demand for mobile broadband. It is important that the frequencies are made available as quickly as possible for the benefit of consumers and industry.
We have already consulted on other aspects of this award and the matters discussed in this document therefore represent the last issues on which we need to conclude before the auction can proceed.
The first regional clearance events to clear the 700 MHz band of digital terrestrial television will be in Summer 2017. We have published an update setting out the timelines and associated preparations for clearance.
White spaces are the name given to parts of spectrum that are unused in a particular location and time. TV white spaces exist between airwaves primarily used for digital terrestrial TV broadcasting (470 MHz to 790 MHz).
Use of these white spaces will allow devices to transmit and receive wireless signals for applications such as broadband access for rural communities, Wi-Fi-like services or new machine-to-machine networks.
Compared with other forms of wireless technologies, such as regular Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the radio waves used by white space devices will be able to travel larger distances and easily through walls as they would use UHF frequencies.
Following completion of a Pilot, Ofcom will now implement commercial white space use aiming for the framework authorising commercial use of white space technology to be in place later in 2015. This will enable the use of new wireless applications to benefit consumers and businesses across the country.
The use of white space technology will be one way of meeting the growing demand for mobile data in the UK.
Ofcom made regulations on 18 December 2015 which enable licence exempt use of white space devices in the 470 - 790 MHz band. The regulations came into force on 31 December 2015.
Additionally, on 25 September 2015, Ofcom published a statement confirming its decision to license manually configurable white space devices. This licensing regime is expected to become operational from February 2016.
For all TV White Spaces correspondence, please email us via our dedicated TV White Spaces inbox: TVWSManager@ofcom.org.uk