Ofcom to look at 5G connections

Ofcom to look at 5G connections

The UK communications watchdog, Ofcom, has claimed that it has already begun a number of white space technology trials alongside Microsoft and BT, as part of its plans to examine the possibilities for wireless innovation.

The regulator claims the trials could allow it to eventually auction off the spectrum needed for 5G technology as soon as the year 2018.

Microsoft is currently testing white spaces by providing free Wi-Fi to certain areas of Glasgow, which has previously been identified as the city in the UK with the lowest level of broadband take-up.

Meanwhile, BT has joined forces with a small start-up company named Neul, with a view to running similar tests that will aim to monitor the congestion of traffic.

Auctions of the necessary spectrums are big business, although the government has often been criticised for the way in which the auctions of 4G, and 3GH before it, have been handled.

Just before the auctioning of 4G frequencies began, chancellor George Osborne was quick to assure the public that their sale would raise around £3.5 billion.

Much to the delight of Labour, however, the resulting sale was only able to reach the levels of £2.3 billion.

Despite the auction raising a disappointing amount of funds, Ofcom has been largely pleased with the way in which the network itself has been rolled out across the country, particularly with the application of measures preventing the coverage issues that plagued the launch of 3G a few years previously.

As part of the terms of the 4G auction, many operators had to agree to providing 98 per cent of coverage across the UK by the year 2017, higher than the 80 per cent that was required for 3G.

Ofcom claims that despite EE rolling out its service a year before anyone else, the offerings from both Vodafone and O2 have ensured that the market is now reaching a favourable level of competitiveness.

The perceived success of the 4G has already caused Ofcom to start considering about how to best approach the development and implementation of a 5G network, but the organisation claims that the introduction of such technology would not happen until 2018 at the earliest.