Ofcom announces winners of low-power GSM spectrum auction

April 28, 2006

2 Min Read

LONDON -- Ofcom today announced the results of thelow-power GSM auction. The successful bidders are British TelecommunicationsPLC, Cable & Wireless, COLT Mobile Telecommunications Ltd , Cyberpress Ltd,FMS Solutions Ltd, Mapesbury Communications Ltd, O2 (UK) Ltd, Opal TelecomLtd, PLDT (UK) Ltd, Shyam Telecom UK Ltd, Spring Mobil AB and Private MobileNetworks (Teleware PLC) - all with the same opportunity to offer excitingnew innovative and bespoke solutions within the UK.

The UK regulator has enabled a world first, auctioning a small prime pieceof GSM spectrum for concurrent use in a technology neutral way. The Spectrumis 3.3MHz at the top end of the GSM 1800MHz band and with the vast majorityof handsets capable of working in this spectrum, the opportunity to offerniche (and mass market) mobile services is open wide.

Although auctioned as technology neutral, it is envisioned that new GSMmobile services will be offered through these new entrants. Applicationsenvisaged for this spectrum include:

  • Local government (hospitals, government offices

  • Campus environments (university sites, large officecomplexes)

  • Data infill for mobile networks (anybody using a PDA orblackberry - especially indoors)

  • Fixed-mobile convergence (wireless office environment)

  • Remote deployments (oil refineries, pharmaceutical sites orperhaps remote small villages)

  • GSM hotspots (airports, coffee shops, internet cafés)

  • Closed community groups (museums, clubs, sport stadiums etc)

A new dedicated website is today launched to examine and explain the rangeof applications in more detail. (www.lowpowergsm.com).

To enable these entrants to rollout networks quickly and efficiently,compact, robust and economic infrastructure will be key. As the majority ofthese operators will be new to mobile networks, the need to keep costs lowby using existing infrastructure coupled with cost-effective backhaulsolutions leads naturally to flexible IP-based solutions being deployed.These solutions utilising soft switches are capable of scaling to supportthe emerging services from a few pico-basestations in buildings up tomultiple basestations coping with large amounts of traffic within a shoppingcomplex or airport. The requirement for simple integration to existing PBXsystems, large complex MSCs and billing architectures will also beparamount.

"There are a variety of products on the market for GSM networks", SandraGilligan, Mobile200 commented, "but only a limited number offer scalabilityand a good fit for the various applications that will enable the new mobileoperators to be successful."

Within the next few months, the mobile services landscape in the UK willhave changed considerably. New operators offering exciting innovative,competitive products to consumers and businesses alike will open up themarket.


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