Operators Petition Ofcom for More 4G Spectrum

Vodafone and 3 have asked Ofcom to let them offer 4G services on previously 3G bandwith. Ofcom has published a consultation document outlining the proposal to let operators use the spectrum licences they already own on the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands to deliver 4G.

EE, Vodafone and O2 all had spectrum that they could initially only use for 2G, but these conditions were relaxed to allow them to offer 3G. It is likely, therefore, that this request will fulfilled.

Ofcom said in the consultation document that “this will meet a long standing objective to liberalise all mobile licences so that there are no regulatory barriers to the deployment of the latest available mobile technology”. The change has already been mandated by an EU directive.

Telefónica and Vodafone also want Ofcom to vary their 900 MHz licences to increase the maximum permitted base station transmit power by 3 decibels for 3G use. The consultation will close on 29 March.

Regarding the ongoing spectrum auction, the document says that the 800 MHz band will be available for use nationally by June 2013. The 2.6 GHz spectrum is likely to be open for use in London by the end of Q2 2013 and nationally by the end of Q1 2014.