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Mobile demand 'needs more spectrum bands'

22 November 2013

Posted by Michelle Devonshire

More spectrum bands will be needed to support the increasing demand and usage of mobile technology.

This is according to Ofcom, which has outlined a blueprint on how to improve capacity - it argues such additions, combined with the likes of 5G and advanced networks, could boost current support by 25-fold or more by 2030.

Mobile devices are arguably becoming more popular, especially as tablets and smart devices begin to exceed traditional PC's in volumes. Having so many mobile devices connected to the wider web is a concept known as the 'internet of things' - with so many gadgets looking to use a wireless signal, increasing the available bandwidth can greatly help meet growing requirements.

Ofcom has already identified a number of bands which could serve this purpose, such as the 2.3 and 3.4 gigahertz (GHz) wavelengths. These are currently used by the Ministry of Defence, but Ofcom is working to move these towards commercial and public use, stating they are suitable for mobile broadband. If achieved, these could be released via auction between 2015 and 2016.

Likewise, it is also looking into the potential to reorganise bands used by digital television, specifically within the 700 megahertz band. It has not reached a decision, but predicts changes could come into effect around 2018.

Ofcom's chief executive Ed Richards 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."

The government is currently investigating the option of reorganising the 2.7 GHz used by radar, which could release as much as 100 MHZ of the spectrum for other purposes. Similar adjustments can be made at 3.6 GHz, which is used by satellite links.

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