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Ofcom Wants To Protect TV Frequencies At Global Spectrum Event

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Ofcom supports European proposals to free up spectrum for mobile broadband at WRC-15, but wants sub-700MHz to stay for Freeview

Ofcom has set out what positions it will take at the start of the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC-15) which starts next week, confirming it will largely support wider European notions on how the world’s spectrum resources should be allocated.

The communications regulator is representing the UK at WRC-15, organised by the UN-affiliated International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which takes place in Geneva between 2 and 27 November.

Various industries, including mobile, broadcast and satellite, have been lobbying governments and authorities around the world prior to the quadrennial event, which aims to harmonise how the frequencies are used around the world.

Ofcom spectrum

telecomsGreater harmonisation will reduce interference, allow for economies of scale in manufacturing, and allow services to work across international borders.

There are still some regional differences however. Ofcom is a member of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), which have formulated a number of European Common Proposals (ECP). Ofcom accepts conversations at the event are fluid and that compromises will have to be made.

Of the more high profile issues, Ofcom supports 694 – 790MHz, 1427-1518 MHz (L-band) and 3.4-3.8 GHz (C-band) being made available for mobile broadband. Like many of its European counterparts however, it opposes the use of 470-694MHz as these frequencies are used for digital terrestrial television (DTT) in many countries.

Ofcom also supports proposals for 6GHz and above to be made available for 5G and suggests some 5GHz frequencies could be used for Wi-Fi.

The GSMA, which represents the mobile industry, has been calling for these bands – and more – to be made available for mobile broadband, claiming that without enough spectrum, operators will struggle to deliver 3G and 4G services as demand grows over the next decade.

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