A spectrum inventory for the UK

This study attempts to identify frequency bands in which there might be an opportunity to change the current use to a higher value alternative use, in order to increase economic welfare over the next 10-15 years.

The scope for making such changes could be limited by legal impediments or interference considerations and could involve moving existing users which will incur costs. Hence, the analysis takes account of both the additional net value of the alternative use and constraints caused by national and international regulation, sector policy, and existing investments in equipment. Since changing the regulations governing the allocated use of band at a European and/or international level and moving existing users takes time, the impact of changing use is assessed over a 10-15 year timeframe.

The study is focussed on changes in spectrum use aimed at accommodating increased demand from relatively high value services and where changes require intervention by the regulator (i.e. cannot happen through market transactions).

The conclusions are based on evidence concerning the relative value of spectrum in alternative uses, expectations concerning future demand for spectrum  and analysis of ways of best meeting that demand taking account of the value of bands in different uses and the ease and costs of changing spectrum use. The study ranks bands depending on both the ease and cost of refarming and net benefits of refarming, and identifies several bands which could be prioritised.