UK regulator consults on refarming

UK mobile operators are unlikely to utilize a proposed regulatory concession allowing them to refarm spectrum for 4G services anytime soon, a senior Ovum analyst says.
Ofcom has started a consultation on a proposal to amend licenses covering 900-MHz, 1800-MHz and 2100-MHz frequencies to allow carriers to use them for 4G services. The regulator’s concession would also allow carriers to vary the permitted base station transmit power for 3G and 4G technology in the 900-MHz.
However, Matthew Howett, telecoms regulation analyst at Ovum, says the proposal will have little take up in the near term. “They would first need to be cleared of their existing use through a process of refarming that would probably take years rather than months,” he says.
Despite his pessimism on operator uptake, Howett is positive about Ofcom’s decision, stating it “will on the whole be welcomed by operators and is fully inline with other countries.”
Ofcom opened the public consultation in response to a request from Vodafone and 3 the BBC reports.
Seven bidders are taking part in the UK’s auction of 4G spectrum which started late January.