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Ministry of Defence reveals spectrum sale plans to meet 4G demands

17 Dec 2012
Mobile spectrum antenna

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that it will sell off a portion of its frequency holdings by 2014 in a move that could raise more significant revenues for the government.

The MoD had been expected to make the move after the Comprehensive Spending Review of 2010 confirmed the government would sell on at least 500MHz of public spectrum below 5GHz holdings.

The two bands up for grabs will be between 2.3 and 2.4GHz and between 3.4 to 3.6GHz. This could make the first band well suited to 4G services as it will sit below the soon-to-be-auction 2.6GHz coverage band.

The importance of ensuring there is enough public spectrum for the ever-growing mobile data demand was touched on by minister for defence equipment, support and technology, Philip Dunne.

"We welcome this opportunity to free up much-needed spectrum. We hope that the sale will help drive the roll-out of new generation networks and universal access to broadband, both of which are vital to the UK's prosperity," he said.

Preparations for the auctions will take place at the end of 2013 for the process to begin in summer of 2014. Ofcom will work to oversee any issues that could arise, such as possible interference risks and the general process to transfer the military spectrum to civil use.

While the move will see more spectrum available for the UK, it still falls short of new European Commission (EC) requirements outlined in November that member states free up another 120MHz by 2014, to take the total available to 1000MHz.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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