Ofcom details mobile spectrum trading plans

radio masts

Ofcom has outlined plans designed to free up more spectrum for mobile services.

As part of the changes proposed by the watchdog, mobile operators would potentially be able to trade radio spectrum with each other. This follows Government mandate, announced in December last year, to make spectrum tradable.

More specifically, those operators with greater needs for spectrum in order to meet users' demands for reliable connectivity will be able to make offers for 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands to fellow operators with smaller requirements.

Ofcom will make details of what spectrum is available online and issue licences once offers have been accepted. It will also monitor trades to ensure mobile market competition remains healthy.

With more than 80 million mobile phones in operation in the UK a large slice of which are smartphones the ability to trade spectrum in this way will benefit consumers by making it easier for operators to provide services in a reliable and flexible way, according to Ofcom.

"This is an important milestone in the modernisation of spectrum management in the UK. It comes in response to the fast pace of change and innovation taking place in the mobile communications sector, which is placing increased demands on spectrum," said

Ofcom's chief executive, Ed Richards.

"One important way of meeting this demand is making the acquisition of spectrum as flexible as possible."

Ofcom's consultation on the proposals closes on 17 March.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.