Ofcom to unlock mmWave bands for new mobile technologies and 5G services

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Ofcom has announced that it will make mmWave spectrum across the 26 GHz and 40 GHz bands available for new mobile technologies and 5G services. The UK's communications regulator believes this would be good for mobile users at train stations, football stadiums, and concerts where the deluge of traffic can make data speeds slow.

In addition to mobile users, the unlocking of these bands could be beneficial for users of new technologies such as virtual reality, factory automation, and driverless cars. With many companies scaling back their work with experimental technologies, regulators such as Ofcom could have more time to put these network improvements in place before consumers demand them.

Explaining the next steps, Ofcom said:

“We expect that new uses of mmWave spectrum will be mostly concentrated in areas with high levels of data traffic such as towns and cities. Ofcom will award citywide licences to use mmWave spectrum by auction and assign licenses for more localised licences on a first come, first served basis, using our Shared Access licensing framework.”

Ofcom says it is now consulting on the design of the auction for city-wide licenses, the conditions for city-wide and local mmWave licenses, and how users of the spectrum will be coordinated. It said it will accept responses to this consultation until May 22.

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