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Variation of 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz Mobile Licences

Summary

Executive Summary

1.1 Ofcom has received the following requests for variation of mobile cellular licences:

  • Vodafone and H3G have requested that we remove the regulatory constraint on the use of LTE (4G) technology in their spectrum licences (900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz in the case of Vodafone and 2100 MHz in the case of H3G); and
  • Telefónica and Vodafone have also requested that we vary their 900 MHz Public Wireless Network licences so as to increase the maximum permitted base station transmit power by 3 decibels (3dB) for 3G use.

1.2 Having considered these requests, we propose in this consultation:

  • to liberalise all mobile licences in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands to permit the deployment of 4G services (where such licenses have not already been liberalised). This will align the permitted technologies across all mobile spectrum licences, including the existing licences at 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz and the licences to be awarded by auction in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands. This will meet a long standing objective to liberalise all mobile licences so that there are no regulatory barriers to the deployment of the latest available mobile technology; and
  • to increase the maximum permitted base station transmit power in the 900 MHz frequency band for UMTS (3G) technology, as requested by Telefónica and Vodafone who hold licences in this spectrum band.

1.3 Subject to responses to this consultation, we propose to implement these proposals by varying the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz licences in those cases where licence variation requests have been received, and seek licensee consent to the equivalent variations where the licensees have not yet made such a request.

1.4 We have also reviewed the format and administrative terms of the mobile cellular licences in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands against the licences to be awarded in respect of 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum. Having done so, we propose to amend the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz licences to ensure a consistent approach across the mobile sector. This last proposal is largely for clarification purposes and is not expected to have any material effect on the licence terms and conditions of current licences. Again, subject to responses to this consultation, we propose to implement this proposal by seeking consent from the licensees.

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