UK mobile network operators will be allowed to buy and sell radio spectrum from each other under new Ofcom proposals published today. Unwanted or little-used frequencies in certain parts of the country could be re-sold, which could improve services for consumers.
The proposals cover 2G and 3G spectrum at 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2.1GHz. The UK’s ‘big five’ mobile networks have all acquired various blocks of spectrum during the last 25 years, although the sizes and frequencies vary between operators.
Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said “This is an important milestone in the modernisation of spectrum management in the UK. It comes in response to the fast pace of change and innovation taking place in the mobile communications sector, which is placing increased demands on spectrum. One important way of meeting this demand is making the acquisition of spectrum as flexible as possible.”
Ofcom was obliged to introduce these plans after the government amended the Wireless Telegraphy Act in December last year.
[Ofcom consultation ends 17th March 2011]