Ofcom extends radio spectrum on licence-exempt basis for RFID

Ofcom will make more of the radio spectrum available for use by radio frequency identification technology on a licence-exempt basis.

Ofcom will make more of the radio spectrum available for use by radio frequency identification technology on a licence-exempt basis.

RFID is already in use in some industries, but IT suppliers believe extended use of the technology and integration with enterprise resource planning could increase supply chain efficiency.

Ofcom said extending the frequencies available without the need for a licence could lead to greater take-up of RFID and eventually drive lower costs to consumers. "RFID can also be used to store owner information on personal items in an effort to discourage theft," the regulator said. "Commercial organisations have emphasised the value RFID would bring to asset management and other areas of the business."

Ofcom will make the 865MHz-868MHz spectrum range available, and exempt RFID equipment from Wireless Telephony Act licensing on the basis that it is unlikely to cause interference to other users of the radio spectrum.

This should be welcome news to Tesco, a leading user of RFID. In June, Simon Palinkas, Tesco programme manager responsible for the retailer’s RFID roll-out, said performance of RFID was held back by regulation. He said EU regulations regarding the use of the 865MHz to 868MHz radio spectrum had hit Tesco's progress with the technology.

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