Getting ready for 5G – Ofcom’s key work to ensure availability of 5G spectrum

Getting ready for 5G – Ofcom’s key work to ensure availability of 5G spectrum

Ofcom published yesterday an update on its activities to facilitate the deployment of 5G networks within the next few years. 5G services, which are designed to enhance the mobile broadband experience, boost the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) and provide more reliable communications, are dependent on the relevant network infrastructure and spectrum bands.

Given the diversity of 5G services, different sets of radio technologies and frequency bands will be required. Spectrum harmonisation is undertaken at global level by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), at regional level by the European Commission. Ofcom played an important role in developing thinking around the frequency bands required for 5G services.

Consumer demand for higher capacity applications and usage of mobile devices is driving the growth in data consumption.  In our study “Out of home use of the internet” (2014), we noted that Wifi and cellular networks are vital to meet this growth but challenges exist for infrastructure providers.

The roll-out of 5G networks is not purely dependent on the availability of relevant spectrum bands. Other issues need to be tackled concurrently; the deployment of the network infrastructure to support the deployment of 5G services, such as fibre networks or 5G cells, could in some parts of the UK be hindered by delays and inconsistencies in delivering permits and variations in planning processes. The BSG is currently undertaking work to identify these issues and will work together with local authorities to help facilitate the deployment of networks across the country.

 

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