The government’s independent spectrum broker (ISB), Kip Meek, has recommended that there should be a cap on the spectrum owned by the UK’s five mobile networks, coming to this conclusion after discussions with the networks and regulator Ofcom.
The spectrum cap is expected to encourage fairness in the mobile broadband market and stop disagreements over spectrum ownership.
The recommendation could mean that O2 and Vodafone would sell older 2G (900MHz and 1800MHz) spectrum to Orange, T-Mobile and Three, in order to obtain some of the 800MHz spectrum which will be released after the digital switchover is completed in 2012.
Some of the 900MHz spectrum could then by converted from 2G to 3G, which is used to deliver HSPA Mobile Broadband services.
This could improve the provision of high speed broadband to rural communities who may currently not have a broadband service, and would support one of the key points of the Digital Britain Report which is ensure ‘broadband for all’ by 2012.
The recommendations were published in a report for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, ahead the final Digital Britain report, which will be released in June.