Ofcom opens consultation on 900Mhz spectrum

Ofcom opens consultation on 900Mhz spectrum

Operators could save £1bn each by using the bandwidth for next-generation services

Regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation on proposals to open up portions of radio spectrum as part of wider plans to boost competition.

The 900Mhz band is currently used by O2 and Vodafone for the provision of 2G mobile services, while Orange and T-Mobile have control of the 1800Mhz spectrum.

The telecoms watchdog plans to allow the bandwidth to be used for 3G services and other next generation technology such as mobile broadband.

Ofcom is currently exploring four potential schemes for liberalising the bandwidth, including both the expansion of current licences and redistribution of the frequencies.

The decision regarding the 900Mhz band is of particular interest to mobile providers because its low frequency is suitable for the deployment of 3G services in rural and built-up areas. Ofcom predicts that more efficient use of the band could save each operator in excess of £1bn.

The closing date for responses to the consultation is 29 November.