LS telcom UK was commissioned by the UK Spectrum Policy Forum (SPF) to conduct a future looking study to examine the practicality, feasibility, and implications of defragmenting the UHF band 694 to 960 MHz.
SPF is the industry sounding board to Government and Ofcom on future spectrum management and regulatory policy with a view to maximizing the benefits of spectrum for the UK.
The study was initiated by the UK SPF in response to radical proposals to re-plan the 694 to 960 MHz band to remove the current fragmentation. The proposals claimed that such re-planning could potentially deliver considerable benefits such as increased capacity, future proofed spectrum and securing access for DTT services below 694 MHz.
The LS telcom study found that the overall capacity benefits gained from the proposed defragmentation would be small compared to the gains promised by future technology developments such as 5G and the use of higher frequency bands. Further, LS telcom determined that the proposed defragmentation would impose a considerable cost burden on mobile network operators, who would need to upgrade every base station in their network, for a fractional increase in capacity.
Project manager, Saul Friedner, Associate Director of Spectrum Services at LS telcom said, “This was a challenging project due to the future looking nature and the requirement to determine what a mobile network might look like in 2030. Whichever way we looked at the problem we could see no significant justification to undertake such a defragmentation exercise.”