2.6 GHz spectrum to be reserved for London 2012 Olympics
Ofcom have published a consultation today on the use of the 2.6 GHz spectrum for the London 2012 Olympic Games. This band of spectrum made up of 2500-2960 MHz has been in use for wireless camera operation but is expected to be auctioned off next year for use as mobile broadband spectrum. This would increase the capacity available to operators to allow them to introduce new services such as WiMAX or Long Term Evolution (LTE), a next-generation mobile broadband technology.
Ofcom is now proposing that the 2.6 GHz band be reserved for continued use for wireless cameras during the period of the Olympic Games in London. This is as they expect there to be more demand for spectrum than their original proposals based on the Vancouver Winter Olympics and an increase in use of technology like 3DTV.
This may have some affect on mobile broadband operators as it affectively limits them from deploying in this frequency range until after the Olympics have completed. The restrictions would apply from the 28th of June 2012 to 23rd of September 2012 and would be in the area bounded by the M25 motorway. Ofcom, however, don't expect much opposition to this consultation as mobile operators at not expected to be ready to deploy until after this time. This is partly due to an upgrade programme for a neighbouring frequency range (radars operating at 2.7 GHz). There is also the possibility for some licenses being granted for trials of mobile or broadband data services during the Games if they can be co-ordinated with the wireless camera use.
Overall, this points at new faster mobile broadband services using this spectrum not being on the horizon until late 2012 at the very earliest, although deployments could start away from London before this, assuming the radar upgrades have been completed (which doesn't look likely by this date). The consultation is open for responses for 4 weeks ending 17th September 2010.