EE regulatory strategy director talks up importance of network density

EE director of regulatory strategy Inge Hansen called on the UK government to ease planning restrictions covering deployment of fresh infrastructure, arguing that moves to free up additional spectrum alone will not enable operators to match future mobile data demand.

Hansen told delegates at an event organised by Westminster Forum Projects that operators must have greater freedom to deploy new infrastructure to adequately meet growing demand for mobile data services on today's 4G networks and the 5G networks of the future, TechWeekEurope reported.

The move to 5G, in particular, will require MNOs to expand their current network density, Hansen argued. She called for changes to the UK's Electronic Communications Code to simplify the process of accessing land when expanding network infrastructure, the news outlet said.

Simplifying the process of accessing fresh sites and reducing the amount operators pay in rent would ease their requirement for additional spectrum, Hansen added.

Hansen's comments come a month after the UK government revealed plans to ease current planning restrictions covering existing mobile infrastructure, and to build taller towers when deploying new sites.

At the time, an EE spokesperson told FierceWireless:Europe that the operator welcomed the proposal, and called on the government to provide "a package of measures, including planning reform and reform of the Electronics Communications Code that reflects the growing demand for, and reliance on, good mobile coverage across all parts of the country."

The government proposals -- which appear to only cover England at this time -- were made days after regulator Ofcom launched a consultation on accelerating the release of the 700 MHz frequency band for use by mobile data services.

Ofcom said the consultation process could clear the way for the reallocation of 700 MHz frequencies no later than the second quarter of 2020, around 18 months earlier than it originally expected to be able to clear the use of the spectrum for mobile services.

The UK regulator's move is in line with moves by the European Commission to utilise the frequency band for mobile services. The commission believes additional spectrum is necessary to ensure mobile services are capable of meeting future demand for mobile services including the Internet of Things and connected cars.

For more:
- see this TechWeekEurope article

Related articles:
UK MNOs give cautious thumbs up to government plans to ease infrastructure restrictions
Ofcom could clear 700 MHz band for mobile data use by Q2 2020
UK government sets aside £550M to clear 700 MHz spectrum
Ofcom allocates 10 MHz of VHF spectrum to promote IoT
EC seeks greater European harmony on 700 MHz for mobile services

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