Ofcom allocates LTE band for Olympics

UK regulator Ofcom has published a consultation document outlining its proposal to reserve the planned LTE spectrum for wireless camera applications during the London 2012 Olympics. The 2.6GHz spectrum is to be auctioned off in tandem with the 800MHz band at the end of next year. However, as there is a need to upgrade radar equipment operating in the 2.7GHz band before LTE can be introduced, Ofcom believes that widespread deployment of LTE is unlikely to be completed before the end of 2012 and the spectrum can more usefully be employed to support the Olympics.

Ofcom's Spectrum Plan for the London 2012 Games was published in October 2009 and included an allocation of spectrum for wireless cameras. Since then, experience at the Vancouver 2010 Games, together with further growth in the use of wireless cameras in sports coverage, plans for airborne television coverage and the emergence of 3D television makes it likely that the spectrum demand may be greater than it had predicted, says Ofcom. Next year's planned auction will proceed as normal under Ofcom's proposal, and the spectrum awards made will include a stipulation covering the temporary allocation, which will be for the duration of the games only. Ofcom added that non-operational trials and tests of mobile or broadband data services using 2.6GHz spectrum may be possible during the exclusion period if they can be coordinated with wireless camera use within the exclusion zones.

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