Ofcom calls for 5G progress

Ofcom has said that it want the telecommunications industry to help lay the foundations for the UK’s future high frequency spectrum wireless 5G network.

The spectrum, which will be above 6 GHz in frequency, would support digital business operations and entertainment, with the ability to support high concentration of demand in urban areas.

5G mobile networks are expected to deliver significantly faster data speeds to current 4G with an updated network hoped to provide up to 50Gbit/s, an upgrade on current speeds of 15 Mbit/s.

Ofcom said in a statement that “5G services are likely to use large blocks of spectrum to achieve the fastest speeds, which are difficult to find at lower frequencies. Therefore, higher frequency bands, above 6 GHz, for example, will be important.”

There is no set timeframe for the launch of 5G services as yet, but it is hoped that commercial applications could be in place by 2020, dependant on development and agreements to align frequency bands.

Part of Ofcom’s role is to manage the allocation of frequency spectrums and the group is urging the industry to plan the framework now so that a greater understanding of how the frequency spectrum will function.

Steve Unger, Ofcom Acting Chief Executive, said: “We want the UK to be a leader in the next generation of wireless communications. Working with industry, we want to lay the foundations for the UK’s next generation of wireless communications.

5G must deliver a further step change in the capacity of wireless networks, over and above that currently being delivered by 4G. No network has infinite capacity, but we need to move closer to the ideal of there always being sufficient capacity to meet consumers’ needs.”

Philip Marnick, Ofcom Spectrum Group Director, said: “We want to explore how high frequency spectrum could potentially offer significant capacity for extremely fast 5G mobile data.

This could pave the way for innovative new mobile services for UK consumers and businesses.” Ofcom has said it is seeking views on the use of spectrum above 6 GHz that might be suitable for future mobile communication services. The closing date for industry responses is 27 February 2015.



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