Freeing up the spectrum

Public organisations including the MoD will be able to release their considerable radio spectrum holdings under new plans announced by Ofcom.


UK government, its agencies and other public organisations including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will be able to share, trade or release their considerable radio spectrum holdings under new plans announced by Ofcom.


Ofcom expects the arrangements to free up some of the most valuable spectrum for new wireless services. This will enable users such as the MoD to trade their spectrum holdings and acquire new spectrum in the market.


Public bodies use around half of the radio spectrum below 15GHz – the most sought after and congested frequencies. An independent study published in 2005 estimated that the spectrum held by the public sector could have a market value of between £3bn and over £20bn.


The news is of particular significance to the MoD which holds about a third of the most sought-after public sector spectrum. The MoD has already committed to sharing and releasing a significant proportion of its spectrum holdings and plans to consult on proposals in May 2008.


‘Public bodies and the MoD in particular hold some of the most valuable and sought-after radio spectrum. By working with these organisations we are enabling them to trade and release this spectrum which will create new opportunities for the development of wireless services for the whole country,’ said Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom.