Mobile Phones: Radio Frequencies

Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 1st September 2014.

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Photo of Peter Luff Peter Luff Conservative, Mid Worcestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

(1) if he will request Ofcom to undertake an independent analysis of (a) the need of mobile network operators to be granted access to additional radio spectrum and (b) the quantity of spectrum currently allocated to mobile network operators of which they are not making use to provide mobile connectivity for consumers; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what assessment he has made of the validity of mobile network operators' requirement for access to an increased quantity of radio spectrum; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what recent assessment he has made of the efficiency with which mobile companies make use of the radio spectrum to which they currently have access; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy (Jointly with Department for Culture Media and Sport)

The 4G auction in 2013 has increased the amount of spectrum available to the mobile network operators (MNOs) for delivering next generation mobile services. The 4G rollout is under way and will ensure the UK continues to have some of the best mobile services in Europe.

The Department has not made any direct assessment of mobile network operators’ (MNOs) spectrum requirements or the technical characteristics of their network deployments. Ofcom published their Mobile Data Strategy consultation on 21 November 2013, which examines consumer demand for mobile data services and how this could be met, including MNOs’ spectrum requirements. The consultation document and responses can be found on Ofcom’s website:

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/mobile-data-strategy/

Ofcom has since published a further statement on their Mobile Data Strategy:

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/mobile-data-strategy/statement/

The Department does not directly monitor the operations of the MNOs or the technical characteristics of their network deployments. Ofcom does however undertake certain monitoring functions including monitoring of coverage, service quality and ensuring MNOs comply with any obligations included in their spectrum licences.

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