Ofcom to expand 4G digital spectrum by 2022

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Brits can expect fast and more affordable mobile services coming their way as regulator Ofcom reveals plans of expanding 4G spectrum.

The telecoms regulator has revealed it will open up the 700 MHz spectrum band for mobile networks, which is currently in use by wireless microphones and digital terrestrial TV broadcasts. Ofcom has confirmed that the switchover won’t result in any disruption to these platforms.

“Enabling the 700 MHz band to be used for mobile date will allow mobile networks to provide better performance at a lower cost, which will bring considerable benefits to citizens and consumers,” the Ofcom noted.

The watchdog said the band would be made available for mobile by the start of 2022, with the possibility of it coming two years earlier.

Ofcom’s chief executive Ed Richards said he believes that the change could bring wide-ranging benefits to the entire urban and rural UK population. It is expected that increase in spectrum capacity could also result in lower mobile data fees.

“This decision ensures that we are making the raw materials available with which investors and companies can build the services which will support the digital economy of the future,” he added.

“More spectrum will be available for mobile broadband where demand is especially high, but the UK will retain a competitive terrestrial television platform as well.”

The decision was made after Ofcom calculated that the demand for mobile data could increase up to 45 times of what it is now by 2030.