Ofcom has a duty to secure the optimal use of the radio spectrum. A key part of achieving this is to release available spectrum to the market, generally by means of an auction.
Ofcom's approach to specific spectrum awards is assessed case by case. However, our general approach is to prepare an award, including determining spectrum packaging and auction design, in a way that is most likely to secure the optimal use of the spectrum. In doing this, we generally aim to give the market as much flexibility as possible to determine how the spectrum is used, without pre-determining the technologies or applications that may be used, while protecting neighbouring users from harmful interference.
Public Sector Spectrum Releases
The public sector has around half of the most useful spectrum and it uses it for a variety of services including defence, emergency services, transport and science.
Against a background of increasing demand for spectrum from both the public and private sectors, the Government announced in their March 2011 Enabling UK Growth - Releasing public spectrum that at least 500 MHz of public sector holdings below 5 GHz is planned to be released by 2020.
As part of the Government's plans, the Ministry of Defence has identified bands under its Defence Spectrum Reform work for potential new sharing opportunities for public and private sector users. This is in addition to the award by Ofcom of 2.3 and 3.4 GHz spectrum bands in which MOD is giving up use.