Users and suppliers should be allowed to develop new wireless data technologies without heavy regulation, says telecoms regulator Ofcom.
Ofcom has published a spectrum framework review, which says suppliers should be able to use the spectrum they own to freely develop customer technologies that are in demand, and that they should be able to freely trade spectrum with other suppliers.
Ofcom chief executive Stephen Carter said, "This market-led approach to spectrum management will reward innovation and extract the maximum value for customers from this important resource."
The framework review is seen as an attempt by Ofcom to make the UK wireless market more dynamic and to catch up with wireless markets in countries such as Japan and South Korea.
A spokesman for the Communications Management Association said, "The CMA believes that Ofcom should ensure, as a matter of priority, the availability of spectrum for wireless broadband alternatives to DSL. The perception is that the scope for investment in new wholesale infrastructures in the UK is constrained by a lack of clarity and urgency in accommodating radical, alternative technology that has been proven in use elsewhere."
Amit Nagpal, senior consultant at telecoms research company Analysys, said, "This review moves away from the command and control strategy previously employed by the Radiocommunications Agency when it came to spectrum management. The review also says there will be modest growth in the availability of unlicensed spectrum, which will further encourage new products and services."
The framework review is now out for consultation. The closing date for responses is 15 February 2005.
Ofcom’s four key spectrum recommendations:
- Allow the market to decide the best use for new spectrum allocations
- Allow licence holders to trade spectrum in an open market and change its use to develop new technologies and services
- Clearly define the rights of spectrum users, giving them the confidence to plan for the future
- Increase the amount of licence-exempt spectrum so businesses can develop and bring to market new technologies and services without the need for a licence