Radio spectrum could soon be traded on an open market, if Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) plans get approval.
The DTI has launched a consultation on the use of radio spectrum that will lead to a market for radio waves similar to that for electricity.
The plans, issued by the Radiocommunications Agency, propose the publication of radio licence information, including licence holder frequencies and assignments as well as base stations and mast sites.
It is hoped that such information will pave the way for a market in spectrum trading to develop, and make more efficient use of limited radio bandwidth. The electricity pool market acts as a trading place between power generators and distribution companies and large businesses.
"People who own spectrum may decide to sell all or part through the market," said a DTI spokesman. "Others may want to buy spectrum to sell it on. It will depend on what exactly their licence says."
The spokesman added that bringing this information into the public domain would not force companies or organisations to sell unused spectrum. "The idea is to bring the information out in the open. If [selling] is the result, then it may be a good thing," he explained.
The plans will apply to a wide range of licence holders, from the public to private business network operators. The agency is also seeking views from all civil radio licence holders.
Consultations will be co-ordinated between the Industry Radio Group, the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office and the Civil Aviation Authority.
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