Ofcom seeks ecosystem diversity with 5G expansion

Guy Daniels
By Guy Daniels

Jul 4, 2019

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Mansoor Hanif, CTO, Ofcom

With digital transformation now widespread across SMEs and industrial verticals, UK telecoms regulator Ofcom sees the need to adapt to this change, and as a result has engaged in discussions with CSPs, vendors and industry over proposals to modernise its mobile licensing arrangements.

It wants to make sure that there's universality of service across the whole of the UK, especially in areas where there's not enough commercial incentive to support the necessary rollout. Hence the consultations on the 5G mid-band frequencies.

However, its idea (first mooted back in December 2018) to open up the 3.8-4.2GHz band to multiple new entrants for very localised usage in rural and commercial environments is generating a lot of interest, both for and against. The idea would see the licensing of hundreds of operators, many being in-building coverage for businesses across tiny footprints. As well as providing industry with what would essentially be private cellular networks, it would also expand the supplier ecosystem, giving start-ups and smaller vendors access to far more customers. When it comes to big picture for 5G, Ofcom believes there's room for everybody; or at least, more than we permit today.

Filmed at: 5G World, London, June 2019

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