Release of 700 MHz spectrum band for 4G and 5G mobile useGulistan Ladha
One of Government’s major infrastructure projects – the clearance of 700 MHz spectrum airwaves – has been delivered, allowing it to be used for 5G services and 4G rural mobile coverage.
On 20 August Ofcom announced that it had completed the work which began in 2017. This involved moving Freeview TV channels out of the 700 MHz spectrum band and re-tuning TV equipment in millions of homes, 99% of which was done by viewers themselves. Arqiva carried out the engineering necessary to change the frequencies on which transmitters were operating. TV broadcasters, Digital UK and Freeview, and Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (DMSL) were all heavily involved.
The release of the 700 MHz band will increase the total amount of spectrum available for mobile services in the UK by 18%, boosting the rollout of 5G, in addition to the SRN which will improve 4G rural coverage.
Next is the auction in January 2021. Ofcom will be releasing 80 MHz of the 700 MHz band for mobile use, subject to a 37% cap on the total spectrum that a mobile organisation can hold.