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Ministry of Defence flooding market with spare spectrum
Monday 17 December 2012 18:20:51 by Andrew Ferguson

The ravenous appetite for radio spectrum continues, and with the Ministry of Defence starting the ball rolling on its own spectrum auction, it looks almost like a clash of the Government departments as they may do battle with Ofcom for the mobile operators money.

Alas the reality is a lot more boring, while the spectrum auction by the Ministry of Defence is a new thing, the 500 MHz of spectrum to be released between now and 2020 is various blocks, with some as small as 2 MHz (probably only suitable for low bit-rate smart meter monitoring). The two big blocks are 2310-2400 MHz which will be auctioned in 2013/2014 and 3410-3600 MHz following in 2015/2016.

The other bands likely to appear in the next few years are 870–872 MHz paired with 915–917 MHz, 1427–1452 MHz, 2025–2070 MHz, 4800–4900 MHz and 10-10.125 GHz. As no companies have announced precise plans one can only guess on uses, but there is scope for extra 4G LTE bands, whitespace and other fixed wireless or point to point backhaul solutions, the big question is how much will companies pay for the spectrum. Remember that even if there is spare spectrum available for 4G, it is only useful if device manufacturers include it in their devices, hence the problem with the LTE supporting devices from Apple only working on 1800 MHz band in the UK currently.

The amount that will be paid is very important as these releases are part of the much larger spending review underway since 2010. As such Ofcom and the operators will have been taken this latest announcement into account, and things like the opening of the 700 MHz band in 2018 after more Freeview adjustments is still going to go ahead.


Posted by otester over 4 years ago
Well the lower bands should go to operators which don't currently have them like EE/Three.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@otester Its not about redressing a balance, it is about the MoD making money to avoid deeper cuts to other parts of the service. So he who bid highest will win.

2 x 2 MHz blocks below 1GHz are no real use for 4G.
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
Is 2 MHz even in the standards ?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Hence why I suggested the smart metering, which is given by the MoD docs if you click through
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
MoD may have missed the boat if they think smart metering may be interested. Smart meter manufacturers have already got their designs sorted and in use.
My meter finds the best network signal and sends a text every 30 mins to my energy company.
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
these are likely to cause interference on vdsl2?
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
"Second-generation systems (VDSL2; ITU-T G.993.2 approved in February 2006) use frequencies of up to 30 MHz" - so a mile short of the above frequencies.
Posted by deira over 4 years ago
@undecidedadrian Why does your energy company need to know your consumption every 30 minutes? I suppose it tells their staff if you are out of the house or on holiday. That would be useful to potential burglars, but who else needs those detailed data?
Posted by Lasher over 4 years ago
Most aMR systems will log your half-hour energy consumption in kWh and will send an SMS once a day, not every 1/2 hour so you will normally see your consumption a day later. If you have a meter connected to the net or your own system then you can get more real-time data, but as mentioned this info could be very useful to some people, and most people don't need their 1/2hr data instantly anyway. In fact most people will not make use of the data the next day either.
Posted by drteeth over 4 years ago
>>some as small as 2 MHz (probably only suitable for low bit-rate smart meter monitoring)<<
LOL, LOL. Or several hundred amateur radio SSB trtansmissions; even many times more with narrow-band digital modes.
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