Ofcom investigates spectrum shuffle

November 21, 2013 11.02 Europe/London By Julian Clover

A potential reorganization of the bands used for digital terrestrial TV is on the cards as Ofcom seeks to find new capacity for mobile broadband services.

Ofcom Riverside HouseIn a new consultation published Thursday, the regulator said that while no decisions had been made it was investigating the potential to rearrange the bands at 700MHz that house the Freeview DTT platform.

Such a move would enable to release more of what has been described as “prime spectrum” for mobile broadband use sometime after 2018.

More spectrum may come from the 2.7GHz radar band or the 3.6GHz band currently used for satellites.

Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, 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.”

When combined with developments in mobile technology, such as 5G, and the introduction of more advanced mobile networks, Ofcom estimates that this new spectrum could boost mobile data capacity by more than 25 times between now and 2030.

The spectrum Ofcom has identified represents approximately seven times the amount of spectrum released as part of the 4G auction.