The UK government has agreed to release 200 MHz of radio spectrum reserved for military purposes to expand the 4G mobile networks.
According to today’s decision, the spectrum – part of it in the most valuable and versatile range below 15 GHz - will be released to the communications regulator Ofcom, who will then split it up between the telecommunications companies.
The announcement is a part of the government’s commitment to provide 500 MHz of the publicly-owned spectrum to the market by 2020.
"The MoD believes that this option provides the best route to release much needed spectrum to the commercial market,” said Lord Astor of Hever, the Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Defence.
"The spectrum will be able to provide additional capacity for fourth-generation mobile networks, help expand wireless access to broadband services and aid future innovations in mobile technology, all of which will make significant contributions to UK economic growth," he said.
The MoD added that demand for additional spectrum is high and has been fuelled by the rapid increase in the use of smart phones and tablets.
In the statement, another Defence Minister, Philip Dunne, said: "Ofcom are experienced in managing radio spectrum sales. I am confident they will oversee a competitive and fair process. Freeing up this spectrum will be good for business and good for consumers. It is a valuable step in driving growth and building a stronger economy.”
The ministry has assured the release of the spectrum into the commercial domain won’t affect national security or the operational effectiveness of the UK's Armed Forces."