Ofcom will look into how to clear spectrum for 5G services, which it says will ensure mobile data’s role as a “fixed line substitute”
Ofcom is to launch a consultation into 5G mobile broadband this week.
The consultation will focus on the freeing up of radio frequencies for 5G internet services, which the regulator said will help the UK deal with the 80-fold increase in data usage predicted by 2030.
Currently, 20 million gigabytes of mobile data is being consumed per month by the UK population, the equivalent of downloading 5 billion music tracks.
Ofcom’s plans involve using frequency currently used for digital television, in the 700MHz band, for mobile data services.
It is hoped that starting the consultation of 5G before the UK has fully launched 4G (currently, only EE offer the service) will mean the country avoids falling behind in rolling out the latest technology, as happened with 4G.
Ofcom chief technology officer Steve Unger told the Financial Times: “There are three ways to meet the demand for more data – more spectrum, better use of spectrum and more cell sites. We need to progress on all three fronts, which is in effect what we mean by 5G, to meet the 80-fold increase in data usage we predict by 2030.
“We expect 5G will be about making mobile data ubiquotous – you won’t lose reception, or worry that your service will be too slow. It will always be there, always relaible, to the extent that it will become a fixed line substitute.”