Ofcom has formally kicked off the trials for white space spectrum in the UK, inviting firms with ideas for potential uses of the technology to submit bids for tests this autumn.
White space technology refers to gaps in the spectrum holdings that are currently un-used but that could be used to provide services such as better Wi-Fi coverage, rural broadband coverage or machine-to-machine communications.
Trials have been taking place around the UK already, led by firms such as BT and Microsoft, but Ofcom wants to monitor approved trials to ensure everything will run smoothly, so there are no issues around interference with other spectrum, for example.
The pilots will be approved to run in the autumn and then service can go live from 2014. The need for white space technology has come in response to the rampant demand for spectrum spurred by the growth of tablets and smartphones on mobile networks.
Ofcom is already planning for 5G services by looking at new spectrum holdings that can be freed up in order to ensure the finite spectrum capacity available is maximised to its potential.
“Ofcom is preparing for a future where consumers’ demand for data services will experience huge growth,” said Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards.
“White space technology is one creative way that this demand can be met. We are aiming to facilitate this important innovation by working closely with industry.”
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