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UK Regulators Hop on 2G Frequency Assignment Bandwagon

September 21, 2007 reports that  U.K.-based communications regulator Ofcom says it plans to allow reassigning of the 2G mobile spectrum for other services and technologies.

A similar but more detailed initiative backed by France, Finland and Portugal,  is intended to pave the way for deployment of UMTS in spectrum bands traditionally reserved for GSM.

Because of its lower frequency, UMTS900 would be able to provide between two and four times more coverage than the most commonly used 2GHz band as well as increased indoor coverage.

While Ofcom's proposal  is less specific, looking at the reuse of the 900MHz spectrum for a number of different means including mobile broadband, it essentially means the UK is also jumping on the UMTS900 bandwagon.

Ofcom's proposal, notes, covers the UK spectrum used by Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile and Orange for their 2G networks, highlights that in line with the existing European GSM Directive, the licences for this spectrum presently limit its use to 2G technology.

Two different bands are presently used for 2G - 900MHz is used by Vodafone and O2 only; 1800MHz is used by all four 2G operators. "The consultation looks at how these spectrum bands could be used for 3G and other technologies, and the effect that changing the use of these key spectrum bands could have on competition and consumers," Telecoms noted Ofcom as saying.

Telecoms report added: 

Traditionally, such proposals have had some critics, typically those WCDMA-only operators which do not have licences for spectrum in the 900MHz band, as well as from GSM players who operate only in the 1800MHz band.

But in this case, Ofcom's scheme might find more resistance. While the proposals state that most of the spectrum should be retained by Vodafone and O2, for their own use, some spectrum should be released by each to ensure other operators also have access to the band.

In fact, the amount of spectrum released should be enough preferably to allow three additional operators to access the band, Ofcom said.

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