SPF Report: UHF Band 694-960MHz

  • techUK techUK
    Tuesday31Jul 2018

    New UK Spectrum Policy Forum Study identifies recommendations for long-term spectrum policy at a national and European level in UHF Band 694-960MHz.

Overall capacity benefits gained from defragmentation would be small compared to the gains promised by future technology developments such as 5G and the use of higher frequency bands, according to a report published today by the UK Spectrum Policy Forum, authored by LS telcom UK. 

The future-looking study – Study on UHF Band (694-960MHz) – by LS telcom UK was commissioned by the UK Spectrum Policy Forum (SPF)  to examine the practicality, feasibility and implications of defragmenting the UHF band 694 to 960 MHz.  

The study was initiated by the SPF in response to radical proposals to re-plan the 694 to 960 MHz band to remove the current fragmentation – the proposals claimed that such re-planning could potentially deliver considerable benefits such as increased capacity, future proofed spectrum and securing access for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) services below 694 MHz. 

The LS telcom UK study found that the overall capacity benefits gained from the proposed defragmentation would be small compared to the gains promised by future technology developments, such as 5G, and the use of higher frequency bands. Furthermore, LS telcom determined that the proposed defragmentation would impose a considerable cost burden on mobile network operators, who would need to upgrade every base station in their network, for a fractional increase in capacity. 

From the key findings presented in the UHF Band (694 – 960 MHz) study, the UK Spectrum Policy Forum presents the following recommendations:  

  • The SPF recommends that HMG/ Ofcom should at WRC19 support an agenda item for WRC23 that reviews how UHF 470-960MHz is used, and considers how that band can deliver best value beyond 2030.  

  • The review should take note of the findings in the LS Telcom report on use of the upper frequencies by mobile: while the limited number of options analysed in this report show the challenges of achieving major gains in value from radical replanning, they also provide useful insights for further thinking in this area.


Saul Friedner, project manager and associate director of spectrum services at LS telcom, said: "This was a challenging project due to the future looking nature and the requirement to determine what a mobile network might look like in 2030. Whichever way we looked at the problem we could see no significant justification to undertake such a defragmentation exercise". 

David Meyer, chair of the UK Spectrum Policy Forum said: “The Spectrum Policy Forum’s broad membership enables us to work together and engage with challenging questions about how to get the best value we can from spectrum use at the national and international level.  

The provisional agenda for ITU WRC-23 includes a review of mobile and broadcasting requirements in the 470-960 MHz band. This agenda item presents an opportunity to develop long-term spectrum policy at a national and European level in relation to this frequency range.  

This SPF-commissioned report determined that significant benefits from major changes within the 694-960MHz do not seem likely in the mid to long term. Should there be changes to the co-primary users of the band in response to business needs, the position for the band beyond 2030 should be reviewed.” 

The study is available to download below.
(If you are having an issue with downloading the report, please get in touch with Skye MacLeod - contact details below.)

Further information:

The recent Digital UK sponsored study (Aetha, Nov 2017) that looked at potential long-term options to reconfigure mobile in the 694-960MHz range was an interesting early input to this debate. The report has garnered international interest with the Australian regulator (ACMA) reportedly investigating the potential of a defragmentation dividend when considering options of sub-1GHz band optimisation. This SPF study on UHF Band (694 - 960 MHz) therefore considers in more detail and responds to some of the suggestions within the Aetha study, including the practical feasibility of migrating to a large FDD band, three TDD bands, or an all TDD plan.

Launched at the request of Government, the UK Spectrum Policy Forum is the industry sounding board to address strategic spectrum issues and to provide advice to Government and Ofcom on industry and user views around key spectrum policy issues. The SPF is open to all organisations with an interest in using spectrum and has over 240 members drawn from mobile and broadcasting, space and transport, equipment manufacturers and public services.  The SPF’s broad membership working together enables us to engage with challenging questions about how to get better value from spectrum use at the national and international level. A Steering Board performs the important function of ensuring the proper prioritisation and resourcing of our work.

(If you are having an issue with downloading the report, please get in touch with Skye MacLeod - contact details below.)


SPF Report UHF Band 694-960MHz (pdf)

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