Friday, February 06, 2009

Testing! Testing! One! Two!

The 'digital dividend' is back in the news again with OFCOM apparently planning to make a wider band of spectrum available for mobile broadband services than originally proposed. Predictably, mobile operators are in unison applauding the announcement because it will in theory kick-start mobile broadband by harmonising spectrum across Europe and so lower equipment costs.

However, DJs, social clubs and rock bands are set up be up in arms as sound checks the length of the country end up being silenced (and with it about £100m worth of kit) as their spectrum is taken.

While the case for harmonising spectrum across Europe makes sense, it does still beg the question as to whether the available spectrum is being used as efficiently as it should be. Already we're seeing the timetable for the switch-over to digital TV being driven by the need to free up spectrum for mobile services.

Planning and optimising the spectrum is a perpetual challenge that is only going to get harder for operators as the plethora of mobile technologies in the RAN become ever more complex.

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