Ofcom to investigate new uses for pager radio spectrum

Ofcom to investigate new uses for pager radio spectrum

Regulator launches consultation on potential for alternative services such as asset tracking

UK Telecoms regulator Ofcom has opened a consultation on the potential use of radio spectrum previously reserved for paging services.

The 169Mhz European Radio Messaging System (ERMES) band was split in half by Ofcom in 2005 as part of plans to make more efficient use of the spectrum, following the decline of pager use across Europe.

The regulator is now welcoming ideas for ways in which the high-power upper part of the bandwidth can be used by businesses while keeping in line with directives from the European Commission.

Possible uses for the upper band include asset tracking systems and tracing devices used to recover stolen goods. The frequency may also be used for personal mobile radio networks, such as those used by security teams at large public events.

The lower part of the band was previously made licence-free in July 2006 and is now used in social alarms and personal hearing aids, among other devices.

The Ofcom consultation will close on 5 December.