Spectrum allocation will hit UK operators

Spectrum allocation will hit UK operators
UMTS Forum claims government proposals for spectrum allocation will fall short of requirements. Roy Rubenstein and Steve Bush UK third generation mobile phone operators will be handicapped by the inadequate spectrum allocation being proposed by the government for its new UMTS licences. That is the claim of the UMTS Forum, a multinational group of manufacturers and mobile phone operators promoting the UMTS third generation standard. The UK government is considering two spectrum proposals where either three or four of the five UK third generation operators get a 2x10MHz band pair and single 5MHz band. “This is fine for just voice but it is not enough for multimedia services,” said Dr Chris Wildey, a UMTS Forum vice chairman. “The minimum for UMTS just to get started is 2x15MHz plus 5MHz.” If not enough spectrum is made available, said Wildey, it will adversely affect the services operators will be able to offer. The Radiocommunications Agency (RA), charged with spectrum allocation proposals in the UK, says the situation is still under review. “Our proposals went out for comment about four weeks ago and we are just receiving the last of the responses from interested parties, one of which is the UMTS Forum,” said Jeremy Clayton, head of the RA spectrum auction team. This month has been allocated to review comments and make firm proposals to ministers. “We should be finding a way forward by April-May time,” said Clayton. The spectrum claims were backed by UMTS Forum chairman, Dr Bernd Eylert, who is also at Deutsche Telekom’s mobile subsidiary DeTeMobil: “Our 2x12MHz spectrum band is not enough just for GSM [services].” The RA’s Clayton said UMTS will use the available spectrum better than GSM. Allocation at a glance First option
3 licensees with 2 x 10MHz pair and 1 x 5MHz single
2 licensees with 2 x 15MHz pair Second option
4 licensees with 2 x 10MHz pair and 1 x 5MHz single
1 licensee with 2 x 20MHz pair

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