Ofcom's Call for Inputs seeks information from industry which will inform Ofcom's ongoing programme of work to make spectrum in the 26 GHz band available for 5G wireless networks. The CFI also sets out Ofcom's current thinking on which other bands will be prioritised for 5G.
5G is the next generation of wireless network technology and is being designed to deliver more data, to more devices and more consistently than previous technologies. 5G networks are being designed to be more flexible than previous generations of mobile networks and will be configurable to provide bespoke services to different types of customer. They will also have the capability to be deployed as enhancements to existing mobile networks or as a standalone, localised network. It is expected that these new features will fuel innovation, create new markets and, potentially, increase the number of organisations wishing to access spectrum.
The 26 GHz band covers the 3.25 GHz of spectrum between 24.25 GHz and 27.5 GHz and is being prioritised across Europe as the first high frequency band for 5G. This high frequency spectrum (known as ‘mmWave spectrum’), offers very high data capacity and speeds but with a limited range. The limited range of operation in the mmWave spectrum, combined with new technologies being developed for 5G, could facilitate greater geographic reuse of spectrum and thereby allow more operators to deploy networks than has been previously possible.
Ofcom's CIF is aimed at gathering input from stakeholders on all aspects related to making the 26 GHz band available for 5G. The document also sets out Ofcom's current thinking on which other bands will be prioritised for 5G, and confirms Ofcom's intention to start working on making available spectrum in the 66-71 GHz band.
techUK's response to this Call for Input will be developed through the Communications Infrastructure Council.
The UK Spectrum Policy Forum has recently published a report Authorising 26GHz and/or Other Millimetre-Wave Bands for 5G Use. This report represents the SPF’s views on authorising the 26GHz band for 5G use in the UK, based on discussions that have taken place within the SPF in June 2017.
More information is available on techUK's Communications Infrastructure Programme.