Ofcom proceeds with UK 5G spectrum auction
In recent news, Ofcom is making progress with plans to auction more spectrum for 5G networks in January with the publication of the final regulations, application form and guidance for prospective bidders. A total of 200MHz of spectrum is up for grabs, including 80MHz worth of long-range 700MHz frequencies freed up by Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), and 120MHz worth of mid-band 3.6-3.8GHz airwaves.
This amounts to an 18% increase in the amount of spectrum available to operators. The process had been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but a timeframe and the rules for the process were finally confirmed by the Ofcom earlier this year. The auction will comprise two stages. The principal stage will see participants bid for separate lots of spectrum and assignment stage will determine specific frequencies. Operators will be able to negotiate between themselves so that their new spectrum is adjacent to existing frequencies.
There had been concerns that legal challenges could result in additional. O2 had opposed the two-stage process and wanted spectrum to be harmonised in contiguous blocks, while Vodafone wanted the auction to be abandoned in favour of an allocation process. This, the operator argued, would reduce the cost of licences and allow more money to be spent on network infrastructure.
5G is the fifth generation of cellular networks, bringing new capabilities that will create opportunities for people, businesses and society. But what is 5G going to mean for you? Put simply: a lot.
What makes 5G Different?
5G isn’t just about having faster smartphones. 5G is designed to be the foundation of a broader network ecosystem. 5G runs on the same radio frequencies that are currently being used for your smartphone, on Wi-Fi networks and in satellite communications, but it enables technology to go a lot further.
5G goes beyond being able to download a full-length HD movie to your phone in seconds (even from a crowded stadium). 5G is about connecting things everywhere – reliably, without lag – so people can measure, understand and manage things in real time. The increased availability of efficient data connections for small devices will advance the Internet of Things (IoT. In fact, 5G connectivity will enable massive machine-type communications—that is, seamlessly connecting embedded sensors in virtually anything. This will play a critical role in industrial IoT, enabling smart cities, smart utilities, and security infrastructure).
Providing intelligence at the edge of the network will lower latency and distribute processing, similar to the way that content distribution networks, like Cloudflare’s, have enabled new applications on the traditional Internet. These innovations will enable new 5G use cases that rely on low-latency and distributed processing such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), robotics, automated vehicles, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare imaging.
This has enormous potential – and together, we will take it to the next level.
Find out more by contacting the Active Digital team on 01892 835522 or via our Live Chat.