Days before the Mobile World Congress (MWC) begins in Barcelona, Everything Everywhere has announced an urban 4G/LTE trial and significant network upgrade. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Ofcom’
Following Intellect’s successful 4G Mobile Broadband conference, I would like to thank our speakers and panellists for their enlightening and provoking presentations and insights during the panel discussions.
Our day was kicked off by John Higgins who introduced John Woodget of Intel, followed by H Nwana of Ofcom and Frank Mather of the European Commission.
John Woodget spoke about the service provider sector - particularly the need for the industry to regain leadership. Intel believes this can be facilitated by a number of measures including; swift release of spectrum, development of longer term strategies, regaining international influence and the promotion of UK industry. (more…)
With one day until Intellect’s 4G Mobile Broadband Conference in London, O2 have begun 4G trials in London.
These trials represent a significant ramping up of 4G development and signify O2′s serious intent to provide the first 4G service in the UK. Trials are usually performed in areas with low populations and medium radio traffic, allowing data to be captured easily without fear of interfernce. Trials within London represent a serious undertaking both technically and financially by O2. Their customers can expect data reception to devices at around 50 MBits per second or less for the duration of the trial – the current average being 1.5 MBits per second. (more…)
Following the consultations and subsequent technical DTT coexistence study published by Ofcom. Intellect thought it timely to invite Ofcom to discuss this critical project, with members in an open and frank forum. We were grateful to receive, Chris Adams – Project Director for DTT Coexistence and Steve Green – Project manager for TLC’s. (more…)
Intellect members may be aware of the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme or “RSPP”, currently being batted between the EU parliament and Council like a policy tennis ball. The RSPP is an attempt by the EU to reflect on political priorities and how these priorities translate into strategic policy objectives for radio spectrum use. The RSPP’s impact on European telecommunications regulation will be similar to the Communications Act in Great Britain. Europe will be gripped by what is effectively legislation, which has implications from licensing to spectral efficiency, spectrum release to regulation and associated policy. (more…)
Next year sees the release by Ofcom of two blocks of spectrum, 800 MHz and 2600 MHz, a move which will have a major impact on the mobile broadband market. The House of Commons Culture and Media Select Committee has been hearing evidence from interested parties, including Intellect.
Ofcom has made its much awaited announcement of its consultation on its plans to implement the UK auctions of spectrum in 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz for fourth generation (4G) mobile broadband applications. Reading through the consultation document, it is clear that the Ofcom is considering some interesting features for the auction scheduled for Q1 2012. These include, spectrum ‘floors’ (minimum spectrum limits) spectrum ‘caps’ (maximum amount allowable), coverage obligations, on one of the 800 MHz licences, enabling sub –national licensees, possibility of spectrum sharing via low power use etc. One of the advantages of being quite late to implement these auctions is that the UK can learn the lessons from earlier 4 G spectrum auctions that have taken place elsewhere in the last three or four years. (more…)
The government plans to direct Ofcom (the first it has ever done this) to implement the, glamorously titled, Wireless Spectrum Modernisation Programme. Through it, The Digital Dividend is about to become a reality, as analogue TV is switched off by the end of 2011. You, civil servants, parliamentarians and their researchers look on, slightly bemused, as those of us who live and breathe spectrum (it is thin air after all…) thrash out the GHz, the MHz, The LTE’s, The WiMax, the DVB T2’s, and all that go with them. All too often, the debate bypasses why these kinds of issues are crucial to Mr. Joe Voter, why real parliamentary engagement is so important and why UK Citizens need representation. Part of this process is making these issues understandable for those representatives.
So why is spectrum, and by implication the digital dividend, so important to your every day man, or woman, on the street? (more…)
Despite what my colleagues may think, I really do make an effort to keep my desk clear. It’s becoming increasingly difficult. The government is simply producing so much paper on telecoms at the moment. There are no less than five meaty consultations, a select committee inquiry and, lets not forget, the mighty tome that is the Digital Britain report, (along with its little brother, the Digital Britain implementation plan), all stacked up and teetering over into my neighbours territory. I have added first and second draft responses. On Friday, the whole stack of paper fell on my foot. It hurt.
So is my bruised toe worth it? Or, more specifically, is all this frantic policy making actually producing the end results we hoped for? Well, from a legislative perspective, things are definitely moving along well. We are hearing reassuring noises that despite the upcoming general election, the digital economy bill is taking shape broadly as we hoped it would and there isn’t much appetite for playing around with it in parliament. The much hyped “broadband tax’”is likely to make it into the finance bill. An additional statutory duty for Ofcom (“to promote efficient investment”) is almost certainly on the way. If they can work out what “efficient” actually means, this can only be good. Although, DCMS seems to have got jealous and decided that it wants to add a duty for Ofcom as well, probably without consulting. Anything BIS can do DCMS can do better. Whitehall in action.
On the negative side, there appears to be, much to industries concern, clear momentum for ISPs to be required to cut off their customers for sharing files illegally. I have great respect for right-holders. In another life, perhaps I could have created some content worth possessing the rights to… But the fact remains that industry, or ISPs, are effectively being contracted out as a law enforcement agency. There is absolutely no direct benefit, or proposed recompense, for them under these proposals. Instead, they incur huge additional admin costs and may well lose revenue as well. Right holders share none of this burden. That is apart from the fact that the whole system is likely to be unenforceable and likely to be superseded by the Telecoms framework directive, which, dogged by infamous “Amendement 138″ controversy, is currently grinding its way through Brussels as we speak.
We also wonder where all the non-legislative (or partially legislative) proposals are going. Already, large elements of the Digital Britain spectrum modernisation programme are probably going to need to be looked at again. T-Mobile and Orange, unless the competition commission intervenes, are to merge. This means that Kip Meeks valuable work, which Mandleson recently got involved with and was near to completion, will most likely be delayed and revised. While the government hasn’t missed its target yet, the ‘arms length’ entity responsible for procuring the capabilities to deliver a 2Mb/s USC currently has no CEO and hasn’t been formally established. We hope that whoever is appointed will talk to industry in a language it understands. Not quite time to worry, but the way the procurement is run is crucial.
Then there are the Tories. We still don’t really know (apart from the short term point scoring we saw immediately post publication) where they stand. The vaunted Review of the Creative Industries appears no closer to publication. This could all be for nothing if they choose to take a different direction on all these issues. Apart from the fact that we are last starting to get some coherency and traction on these issues in Government, this would mean a new wodge of paper hitting my desk. And a visit from HR about health and safety and Intellects ‘clear desk’ policy. I think I will just blame the government. I normally do.
Spectrum. Mention the word and most peoples eyes (and sometimes mine) glaze over. However, when you tell them just how much the ‘thin air’ around us is worth, they tend to open again. In 2003, the Government sold the spectrum used to operate Mobile 3G networks to operators for £22bn. Never mind that the mobile industry was almost bankrupted in the process, and that no-one is likely to pay anywhere near that much again. This is big money. The Treasury, through Ofcom, has taken notice ever since.
In today’s world of yawning budget deficits and scrambling efforts to bridge the divide, spectrum is seen as prime candidate for raising revenue. The Ministry of Defence, whose budget is of course particularly tight at the moment, jumped on the bandwagon earlier than most. Since the end of 2008, they have been busily setting out their wares. And what wares they are. MoD currently ‘owns’ 35% of all spectrum below 15 GHz, a lot which is usable for commercial operations. Commercial users haven’t previously had access to it or been able to pay for rights to use it. Since the 2005 Cave Review, plans have been in the works for it to lease large parts of its current holdings to commercial users and keep all the proceeds. Except when it actually needs to use it in times of national crisis. Then, all bets are off.
All of this has taken up much time at Intellect recently. Renting spectrum is much like renting land in many ways. The landlord needs to be good at sharing information with current and prospective tenants and be able act as a conduit for it. They need to have the ability to actively manage the land they own so that the tenant can use it effectively and, finally, they need to be able to put in place measures to stop trespassers from interfering with what the land is being used. Like land, a given piece of spectrum should ideally have one user. Its possible to share, but it gets a whole lot more complicated when you do. All of this requires resources. If Intellect members are going to rent spectrum from the MoD, they need to have the confidence that MoD can effectively manage and place a value on the spectrum that it owns. In much the same way that Ofcom currently does.
Intellect takes its role as the spectrum ‘tenants’ guardian seriously. A number of members have substantial interests in how it is allocated and used. After all, most of them manufacture devices that need access to spectrum to operate. There is a role for industry in educating the MoD on how to value its spectrum, and how to lease it in a way that actually maximises the potential uses that commercial users can make of it, thereby determining how much they will be willing to pay. Our position paper, MoD Spectrum Divestment: The Intellect Perspective, lays out how we believe MoD can optimise its release process to ensure that the UK gains maximum economic and societal benefit from what is an unprecedent release of spectrum on to the market, and how will we continue to work with them to enable maximum benefits for UK plc to be realised. Our continuing engagement with MoD on these issues is being handled by the Intellect Wireless Council. If you are an Intellect member with interests in spectrum issues, you should be involved.