Ofcom has announced a call for interest in the Ministry of Defence spectrum that will be sold to help the UK meet the growing demand for mobile data.
The telecoms organisation said it wants firms to submit possible use cases for the new spectrum, which will sit below the 5GHz range, making it ideal for further 4G services to support mobile phones and tablets. Ofcom added, though, that other submissions of potential use for the spectrum would be considered.
The MoD is releasing 190MHz of spectrum at 2.3 and 2.4GHz, and between 3.4 to 3.6GHz. This is around three quarters of the amount that was bid on in the 4G auctions at the start of the year. Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said releasing such a large amount of spectrum was vital for the UK's digital future.
"Over the next decade we will see a revolution in the way that people connect to the internet, driven by the ability to wirelessly access the internet at superfast speeds. 4G is likely to open up a new wave of wireless innovation that will deliver considerable benefits to society and the UK's digital economy," he said.
"However this development will also place huge demands on the UK's wireless infrastructure. Releasing MoD spectrum onto the commercial marketplace is an important step in helping to meet this extraordinary demand."
Although the move will mean more spectrum for the UK at some point in the future, it is unlikely anything will be used actively until around 2015-2016, Ofcom said. As a first stage in the process, Ofcom is asking stakeholders and other interested parties to reply to a consultation by 27 November.
Earlier this month Ofcom announced that firms including Microsoft, BT and Google were showing interest in the use of white space technology, which uses gaps between spectrum in different parts of the country to help boost spectrum use in the UK.