In its responses to Ofcom’s consultation and the Commons Culture Select Committee inquiry into spectrum release for mobile broadband, the federation of Communications Services (FCS) has highlighted the major challenge- how to ensure mobile broadband is used by the economy quickly and to maximum benefit.
Jacqui Brookes, FCS CEO says, “Ofcom’s challenge in releasing the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum is to ensure rapid and maximum deployment of mobile broadband. FCS suggests that the spectrum packages could be a single package, with the entire spectrum in the hands of one entity that acts as a pure wholesaler like Openreach, or as Ofcom proposes, four national licensees and several sub national RANs. Under Ofcom’s proposed option of four competing national licensees there must be adequate spectrum for each and a minimum of 2×10 MHz of the lower frequency spectrum to enable a healthy fourth operator to compete effectively.
“FCS members report continued barriers to entry into the mobile broadband market. Rapid and widespread delivery of services requires regulatory oversight to ensure fair retail competition and FCS suggests wholesale access obligations on the licensees and national roaming between the networks.
“FCS supports an allocation for sub national RANs to encourage niche services and argues that there may be a role for setting aside sufficient spectrum to ensure that the Critical National Infrastructure has broadband spectrum for the future, following the example of the USA.”