Ofcom outlines 4G plans for coming year

Ofcom outlines 4G plans for coming year

UK communications regulator Ofcom has announced that it has finalised its priorities for the next 12 months, claiming that it is to continue its monitoring and promotion of 4G roll outs, which have already been highly successful over the last few months.

The regulator is to publish average speeds for both 3G and 4G customers, while looking to ensure that the UK makes the most of its spectrum resources by enhancing the use of technologies such as white space.

Under plans, Ofcom will increase the power in the 1800MHz radio spectrum band for both UMTS (3G) and LTE / WiMAX (4G) mobile and broadband voice services, which it says will dramatically enhance coverage and capacity.

According to the regulator, the improvement, which will be around 3dB, will have significant positive effects on coverage, capacity and the ability to penetrate deeper into buildings.

Ofcom said in a statement: "We have considered whether the likely benefits to consumers from varying the 1800 MHz licences to increase the maximum permitted base station transmit power are likely to be outweighed by any negative effects on consumers as a result of a reduction in competition. […] We do not consider that allowing a higher maximum permitted base station transmit power will result in any detriment to competition or other spectrum use.”

The regulator has also proposed to implement sufficient spectrum for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer, in a move that is expected to mirror similar measures for the 2012 Olympic Games in London two years ago.

Ofcom has already begun a consultation on the changes, and has also made assurances that services remain affordable for vulnerable consumers amid an improvement in fixed line and mobile superfast broadband.

There are also plans to make 080 calls free from mobile phones from summer 2015, a proposal that aims to combat nuisance calls.