Statement and consultation on spectrum access in the 3.6 – 3.8 GHz band
Ofcom has today confirmed its intention to make the 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz band available for mobile use as soon as practicable.
This band has been identified by the UK and EU as part of the primary band for the rollout of 5G services. At present, the band is used by satellite earth stations for space-to-Earth reception and point-to-point fixed links. UK Broadband provides wireless broadband services using part of the band.
Today’s document also sets out their proposed approach to existing users of the band. They propose to remove current authorisations for fixed links, and no longer take registered satellite earth stations with a receive component in the 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz band into account for frequency management purposes, after an appropriate period of notice.
Their proposed approach would enable future mobile services in the 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz band to be deployed in many areas from around 2020, and nationwide by 2022.
As a result of the geographic concentration of existing users, there are many areas in which these frequencies could be used from today, for trials and pre-commercial deployments. Ofcom can make spectrum available to facilitate trials and pre-commercial deployments, including 5G, to support innovation in the UK.
They are minded to award this spectrum in 2019, combined with 700MHz spectrum. They will consult on proposals for the future award in due course.