Qualcomm seeks to cash in on L-band spectrum following EC SDL decision

Qualcomm said it will begin trading L-band spectrum owned by subsidiary Qualcomm UK Spectrum (QUKS) following a recent European Commission decision to utilise the spectrum to boost downlink data rates in mobile networks.

The EC decided to release spectrum in the 1452 MHz to 1492 MHz frequency range for use as an additional downlink channel for mobile networks--dubbed supplemental downlink (SDL).

In a statement emailed to FierceWireless:Europe, the U.S.-based chipmaker explained that SDL "can be key to meet the increase of 4G mobile data traffic globally that is downlink centric."

The company added that its UK subsidiary decided to begin trading the spectrum because the EC decision means the spectrum is now harmonised and mandated for mobile broadband SDL. Another factor in QUKS' decision is an amendment to its UK licence by regulator Ofcom to allow for SDL deployment, the company explained.

At its simplest level, the L-band spectrum will enable mobile operators to boost download speeds and improve subscribers' quality of experience, Reuters reported.

QUKS paid close to £9 million (€12.3 million/$13.7 million) for its UK L-band spectrum in an auction held by Ofcom in 2008. At the time, the regulator explained that the spectrum was being sold as "part of a wider programme to release spectrum for a range of uses," and that QUKS would be free to decide on the technologies and services to which it would apply the spectrum.

The company announced its decision to trade its spectrum almost a fortnight after Ofcom opened a consultation on how to award 500 MHz of spectrum in the 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands that is due to be released by the UK's Ministry of Defence for civil use within five years.

Ofcom reasoned that the spectrum is suitable for operators of mobile broadband networks, and is quizzing the industry on whether to award the additional frequencies in two stages, with the bulk of the new spectrum made available later this year or early 2016, and the remainder at a later date.

The consultation closes on June 26.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- view Ofcom's 2008 QUKS announcement

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