U.K. operators get approval for varied license in 3.4-3.8 GHz band


Ofcom has approved a request from the UK’s main mobile network operators to make technical changes to their spectrum licences, to support the rollout of 5G and deliver ultrafast mobile services.

Following this, EE, Hutchison, Telefónica and Vodafone will have their licences in the 3.4 GHz, 3.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands varied.

These changes will bring the licences in line with a recent EU decision on the technical conditions that apply to spectrum in these bands. 3.4 -3.8 GHz bands are the primary bands allocated for 5G in Europe.

Earlier this year, the three telcos requested license variations to their spectrum licenses in the 3410 MHz to 3680 MHz range so that they can align to the recent European Union (EU) Harmonization Decision (the “EU Decision”) on the 3.4 GHz to 3.8 GHz band.

Following this, Ofcom published an Award Consultation document, setting out a provisional view that they were minded to agree to the variation requests.

The changes in spectrum licenses will allow operators to deploy Active Antenna Systems. These can help deliver higher-quality mobile services in busy areas, by increasing network capacity and allowing spectrum to be transmitted to people’s devices more directly, so they get a stronger signal, Ofcom said.

The changes come into effect on 26 June 2019 and gain significance in the wake of the specrum auction scheduled for the next year.