Ofcom has published plans to enable the release of new airwaves for future generations of mobile devices.
Alongside the announcement, Ofcom has published new data on the UK’s communications infrastructure, which shows that 20 million gigabytes of data is now being consumed in a month over the country’s mobile networks compared with nine million gigabytes last year.
By 2030, demand for mobile data could be 80 times higher than today. To help meet this demand and avert a possible ‘capacity crunch’, more mobile spectrum is needed over the long term, together with new technologies to make mobile broadband more efficient.
Ofcom is now preparing plans to support the release of spectrum for future mobile services, possibly 5G, when the spectrum becomes available.
The plans aim to draw on the 700MHz frequency band, which is currently used for digital terrestrial television, as part of future harmonised spectrum planning across Europe and the rest of the world. Releasing the new frequencies can be achieved without the need for another TV ‘switchover’.