UK wants more spectrum sharing
Mar 13, 2014 by PolicyTracker

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TagsBlog, Public sector spectrum

The UK’s new spectrum strategy says the country’s government is aiming for a “gradual move away from exclusive use to shared use of frequencies”. That process is unlikely to be straightforward.

At the annual CeBIT trade fair in Germany this week, UK Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled the UK’s new spectrum strategy which says the government wants to double the economic benefits of spectrum to £100 billion by 2025. 

The strategy says the UK government has successfully moved from the administrative allocation of spectrum to the widespread use of market mechanisms, adding that in future, it will “encourage innovation through various sharing arrangements” such as dynamic spectrum access.

Rather than offering headline figures on how much spectrum will be released for IMT by a certain deadline, the document says the government will work towards applying the same core principles for all spectrum bands, regardless of whether they are allocated to the public or private sector.

To work out what these principles might be, the government has invited a panel of experts to advise on options. Its conclusions are due to be published in July 2015.

In the same speech, Cameron said he would “make the UK the most digital nation in the G8” by more than doubling public investment in the Internet of Things from £28 million to £73 million and providing tax breaks and visa waivers for the tech industry. (PolicyTracker looks forward to G8 members deciding which country is the “most digital” at future summits.)

In addition, the government has published an update on its public sector spectrum release programme, including information on the 40 MHz of defence ministry spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band. While Qualcomm, NSN, and CEPT have earmarked the band for sharing under licensed shared access (LSA), Ofcom has decided to release it on an exclusive basis.

Developing a new framework for spectrum management in the UK is clearly not going to be easy.