Ofcom Considers UWB, New frequencies for UK 3G Wireless

January 18, 2005
Ofcom--the organization responsible for regulating telecommunications in the United Kingdom-- has issued a consultation (similar to a Notice of Inquiring or Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at the FCC) proposing to make a "significant number of spectrum bands" available to the market over the next few years. From the news release, it appears most of the new spectrum bands would be made available for 3G wireless services. In addition to bringing new spectrum to market, the Ofcom consultation also provides options for extending spectrum trading to mobile phone services.

The specific frequency bands identified range from 410-425 MHz up to 40 GHz, with transition dates ranging from 2005 to 2008. The news release said Ofcom was also considering three other bands: 174-230 MHz (part only), 470-854 MHz (digital switchover spectrum), and 3.6-4.2 GHz (subject to further work on sharing issues). For additional information, refer to the news release about the Ofcom approach to new spectrum allocations and liberalization in mobile.

Ofcom is also investigating whether unlicensed Ultra-wideband (UWB) devices should be allowed in the U.K. and what technical restrictions are necessary to mitigate the risk of interference to other spectrum users. Ofcom has licensed engineers to use UWB for industrial uses such as ground surveys and microwave imaging applications. Ofcom noted that while the FCC had authorized commercial deployment of UWB equipment in February 2002, it is possible that UWB equipment licensed for use in the US may not be appropriate for use in the U.K. Ofcom said it wants to "finalize its approach to UWB as quickly as possible in order to give clarity to stakeholders in both countries." Ofcom will also be involved when the European Commission considers a harmonized approach to UWB adoption across Europe in April this year. For more information on the Ofcom UWB plans, see the news release about the Ofcom proposals for Ultra Wideband high-speed wireless services.

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