Feeds

Ofcom moots the 900MHz boot for O2 and Vodafone

Let's have another spectrum auction!

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

UK regulator Ofcom has opened a consultation on the future of the 900MHz band, currently allocated to Vodafone and O2 for their 2G services, and has suggested that a technology-neutral auction might be in order for 2009.

900MHz is a good frequency for building penetration and decent range, and is used in rural areas where the small-cell-site advantage of 1800MHz is less applicable. In the past a frequencies license was always allocated to technologies, so while O2 and Vodafone have a license to use 900MHz, they can only use it for a 2G telephony service, nothing else.

The GSM Association has been campaigning for 900MHz to become available for 3G services, arguing that the more-advanced 3G technology would make better use of the band.

Ofcom would like to go one stage further, not just making the frequency licenses technology-neutral, but also allowing them to change hands on the open market. This would mean a company could buy a chunk of spectrum, then carve it up for resale, or just sell it on as a lump if they ran out of money or interest.

Vodafone and O2 didn't originally pay for the 900MHz frequencies, instead committing to building the infrastructure to support a digital phone service. Ofcom isn't planning to whip away their entire allocation, though it does want to auction off part of it, ideally in three separate chunks to support three new operators.

Generally operators like technology-neutral licensing, as it opens the doors to WiMAX or the like without additional licensing. Being able to trade their frequencies will sit well with them too, though it could drive up the price slightly.

Ultimately Ofcom would like to see all radio frequencies auctioned off to the highest bidder, who would then be able to deploy whatever technology they like or sell the spectrum on in chunks to interested third parties.

Anyone who feels differently, particularly with reference to 900MHz, should respond before November 29.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.