Ofcom has set out its timeline for spectrum allocation and anticipated deployment of 5G, which is an enormous step forwards in accelerating the next generation of connectivity in the UK.
According to the plans, the UK is expected to see pre-commercial networks as close as 2018, ahead of a 2020 launch.
The proposal outlines plans to utilise 3.4GHz to 3.6GHz, which are already cleared by public sector organisations, and will be auctioned later in 2017.
Spectrum in the 26GHz band will also play a pivotal role, with Ofcom launching a consultation process for this in the second half of 2017.
26GHz undoubtedly holds huge potential to provide bandwidth far in excess of today’s typical “fibre broadband” speeds that many homes and businesses receive.
As a result, we’re likely to see 5G fixed wireless emerge as the first 5G use case in the near term, followed by a wealth of new and exciting 5G use cases, including automotive, IoT and mobility.
This model closely follows the US market, where the FCC recently opened up vast amounts of flexible use, high frequency spectrum in the 28, 37 and 39GHz bands as part of its 5G Spectrum Frontiers proposal.
Over the last year, we’ve already seen many thousands of homes and businesses in the US receiving 100Mbps+ pre-5G fixed wireless services through adjacent bands to 26GHz.
Ofcom are adopting a highly progressive strategy, allowing operators to combine the complementary properties of both low and high band spectrum.
The superfast carrier-grade bandwidth of 26GHz is coupled with the wider coverage of 3.5GHz, creating a harmonised strategy to offer a more economically feasible strategy to connect the many homes and business across the UK that still don’t receive adequate broadband services.
As we have seen in recent news, there are many businesses, even in large cities like London, that can’t get timely access to the connectivity needed for modern commerce.
This move therefore holds enormous promise to provide a significant boost to the UK economy.
With the wireless technology already in place to utilise these frequencies, UK mobile operators and ISPs are perfectly placed to deliver an immediate uplift in connectivity to their customers once this spectrum becomes available.
Just one week to go until MWC...
If you are interesting in finding out more, I'll be speaking at the 5G Beyond the Hype: Value And Building Blocks seminar at Mobile World Congress a week today (16.00, 27 February, Hall 4 Auditorium 4).
We will also have a live demonstration of our VectaStar solution on display at CBNL’s booth in Hall 5 (5H27) during the show
For more information on booking a meeting with CBNL, visit our event page.