Ofcom has set out possible plans to release spectrum that it believes could be crucial for the future delivery of 5G services.
The telecoms regulator has set out a consultation explaining that frequencies in the 3.6GHz-3.8GHz band could be ideal for operators to deliver future mobile services.
“We consider this a high priority band for future mobile use due to the large amount of spectrum available and the interest in this band for the rollout of future 5G services,” Ofcom said.
The watchdog elaborated on this in the consultation document by saying that the spectrum is likely to be used across Europe, which would help operators and users ensure that services can work as one across the continent.
“The 3.4GHz-3.8GHz band as a whole represents an attractive opportunity because it is harmonised across Europe for mobile and has sufficiently large bandwidth for 5G," said Ofcom.
"National regulators and the mobile industry have identified it as a band with potential for the early launch of 5G services.
“Leadership in 5G services and early availability is a priority for many national governments, including the UK government, as well as the European Union. It is our goal that spectrum should not hold back the deployment of 5G services.”
The spectrum is currently used for satellite links and by UK Broadband's Relish service which operates in London and Swindon. However, Ofcom's document shows that there is more than enough unused capacity for other services.
The plan follows growing pressure on Ofcom from the likes of Three and TalkTalk to cap the amount of spectrum BT and Vodafone can secure in next year’s spectrum auctions.
The companies argue that giving BT, which now owns EE, this much spectrum will unbalance the market, especially if BT buys huge chunks and hoards rather than uses it.
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