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November 19, 2012

Ofcom gears up to address capacity crunch on mobile networks in UK

The data consumption by the UK people on the move per month has marked 20 million gigabytes (GB)

By CBR Staff Writer

UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom is planning to use 700 megahertz frequency band, which is currently being used for digital terrestrial television to avoid capacity crunch on mobile network.

The regulator is considering this move anticipating that data demand could be 80 times higher by 2030 with the huge growth in the use of devices including smartphones and tablet computers that demand more bandwidth, according to the country’s telecommunication regulator.

Ofcom revealed that the data consumption by the UK people on the move per month has marked 20 million gigabytes (GB), which could fuel the anticipation of the mobile data demand to be 80 times higher by 2030.

To tackle the rise in data demand, Ofcom has drafted plans to deploy the existing 700 MHz, or DTT, for upcoming digital services, while the DTT will be shifted to the 600MHz band over the next few years.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said that the overall outcome for the UK, the economy, and consumers is a positive one.

"The public cost of this will be utterly marginal, but there will be a massive benefit to the public," Richards said.

"Our plans are designed to avoid a ‘capacity crunch’, ensuring that the U.K.’s mobile infrastructure can continue to support the inescapable growth in consumer demand and economic growth more generally."

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The regulator is also planning to use the existing 16,000 Wi-Fi hotspots by deploying new transmission and compression technologies that will create large capacity to handle the rise in future mobile data usage.

Ofcom also revealed that through the Universal Service Commitment (USC), the UK Government is assuring the access to a basic broadband service of about 2Mbit/s by all premises in the country by 2015.

During 2012, the number of premises receiving a 3G signal from all mobile operators has rose to 77.3% when compared to 73.1% in 2011, Ofcom reported.

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