Ofcom is planning to boost mobile data capacity by more than 25 times by 2030 by freeing up new spectrum.
The regulator has launched a consultation on plans to match booming mobile data demand, fuelled by smartphones and machine to machine communications. It is estimated that 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020.
The UK government is currently examining the possibility of rearranging the 2.7GHz band, which could result in up to 100MHz of spectrum being freed for other use. Another potential candidate is spectrum in the 3.6GHz band, which is currently used for satellite links.
Ed Richards, CEO of Ofcom, said: 'The demands for mobile data will only increase as millions more wireless devices connect to the internet and each other. We’re looking at ways to use spectrum more efficiently and consider future releases of prime spectrum. By doing so, we can help to meet the significant demands placed on our wireless infrastructure and develop one of the world’s leading digital economies.'
Ofcom is already looking at rearranging the waves used for digital terrestrial television, which could result in another spectrum auction after 2018. It is also working with the Ministry of Defence to free up spectrum in the 2.3 and 2.4GHz bands for commercial use, with an auction likely by 2016. Around 20 companies are testing white space technology, that use 'gaps' in spectrum.
Author: Graeme Neill