The UK’s biggest holder of spectrum, the Ministry of Defence, is working towards releasing frequencies for civilian use and it faces choices in how to maximise what users can gain from those resources.
“This is a classic case of there being an opportunity to squeeze the utmost out of available resources – if everybody involved does the proper preparation,” says ATDI managing director Cyprien de Cosson.
Cyprien notes the work ATDI has already done in the area of frequency sharing, and comments: “Whenever a big block of frequencies like this becomes available, it’s easy to be seduced by all that’s on offer and not be careful in managing and allocating it. Happily, the MoD appears not to be taking that route and is being more judicious in its approach.”
He points out that by planning and modelling at an early stage of the process the maximum benefits can be gained from this release. “With precision in understanding what is on offer, what it can be made to do and how interference can be avoided, an already substantial release can be made to appear even more sizeable.”
The MoD this month announced that it intends to open up more military frequency bands for use by civilian services in addition to releases at 2310 – 2400 and 3410 – 3600 MHz that it is planning to take to market in 2013/14 and 2015/16 respectively. This is part of the government’s plans to release 500 MHz of spectrum below 5 GHz by 2020.
The ministry says that radio spectrum sharing requests will be considered and, where appropriate, technical assessments will be conducted to ascertain whether sharing is possible. If feasible, negotiations will take place between MoD and the customer to establish the commercial terms and conditions and regulatory constraints. The MoD has identified 3500 – 3580 MHz for short term sharing opportunities, which along with some spectrum between 3410 – 3480 MHz, is due to be released in 2015/2016. Additional spectrum at 3410 – 3480 MHz may become available for sharing in 2012/13.
The MoD is considering offering limited access to the bands: 870-872 / 915-917 MHz, 1427 – 1452 MHz, 2025 – 2070 MHz, 4800 – 4900 MHz and 10 – 10.125 GHz. No licences granted for shared use will be extended beyond March 2015.
“The fact that the MoD has publicly declared its intention to look at spectrum sharing is a bonus for all concerned,” Cyprien notes, “as this will maximise potential use. What’s needed now is the highest calibre of planning and modelling to make that intention a practical reality.”
The MoD’s intended liberation of spectrum is based on preparatory work done by a consortium led by Logica and including ATDI. This work has provided essential evaluation and analysis during the consultation phase of the project.