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Spectrum policy think tank urges more co-ordinated licensing procedures.

Staff Reporter
October 19, 2023

The growing demand for 5G networks necessitates coordinated licensing procedures, says a new study by the UK Spectrum Policy Forum on how spectrum policies affect the use of a specific frequency band,

The UK Spectrum Policy Forum, an industry-led think tank, commissioned an independent study from Analysys Mason to explore the requirements for using the 3.8-4.2 GHz band. The study examined Ofcom’s Shared Access Licences and local access licence frameworks, with a focus on future innovative applications of these frequency bands.

As requests for licenses in the 3.8-4.2 GHz band increase, there’s a need to manage the timescales and authorization processes effectively.

Industries that will benefit from policies related to the 3.8-4.2 GHz frequency band include transportation, manufacturing, venue-based connectivity, content production, rural wireless connectivity, energy, and construction. These sectors can take advantage of lower latency and enhanced capacity offered by private 5G networks.

The primary use cases for this band include wireless voice and data connectivity, research, and fixed-wireless access (FWA). Ofcom currently offers access to private 5G networks on a first-come, first-serve basis with low- and medium-power licenses.

The study predicts that use cases in the 3.8-4.2 GHz band will evolve to include advanced technologies such as AI, robotics, and AR/VR. This will drive increased demand for higher bandwidths, with most applicants requiring 80MHz and 100MHz bandwidths.

Uplink use cases, particularly for IoT sensor networks, are expected to grow. Medium-power licenses will remain the most requested for outdoor deployment, while the cost of deploying low-power base stations may increase due to their power limit.

The 3.8-4.2 GHz band will continue to be important for 5G, IoT, and content production. This trend is expected to be consistent across Europe, indicating increased alignment in spectrum policies between the UK and the continent.

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