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In October 2016, Ofcom launched a consultation on the expansion of spectrum access for mobile services into the 3.6–3.8GHz band, which is suitable for the rollout of 5G services due to the large amount of spectrum available.


  • With the increasing demand for spectrum, especially as operators prepare for 5G, it will be crucial that Ofcom allocates frequencies efficiently. Removing existing licenses in the 3.6–3.8GHz band would be most effective for 5G deployment but does generate some disruption to current users.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses the effect of removing or retaining existing licenses when allocating the 3.6–3.8GHz band to mobile use.
  • Discusses Ofcom's licensing regime including caps, spectrum sharing, and minimum licensing terms.

Key questions answered

  • Should existing licenses in the band be removed or retained when allocating spectrum for mobile use?
  • Does Ofcom's approach to spectrum allocation align with the European Commission's 5G Action Plan?

Table of contents

Ovum view

  • Summary
  • Ofcom will need to ensure the 3.6–3.8GHz band is allocated efficiently for mobile use
  • Resolving concerns over spectrum caps would provide operators with greater visibility when setting investment plans
  • Extending the spectrum licensing term would deliver increased stability in the market


  • Further reading
  • Author

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