Insights Government writes to Ofcom setting out how it can support implementation of the Wireless Infrastructure Strategy and Spectrum Statement


The letter from the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, to Dame Melanie Dawes, CEO of Ofcom, outlines how Ofcom can support the implementation of the Wireless Infrastructure Strategy and Spectrum Statement (see item above).

The letter requests Ofcom’s support in various areas, including:

  • coverage reporting: Ms Donelan says that having an accurate understanding of the coverage available will be essential and that currently there is a clear mismatch between coverage as modelled, and people’s lived experiences; it will be important for Ofcom to:
    • improve the accuracy of reporting network performance levels in rural areas;
    • supplement predictive modelling data to improve the measurement of mobile network coverage and quality, including use of crowdsourced data, so that it more accurately reflects users’ experiences;
    • report on standalone 5G coverage as it begins to be deployed in the UK;
    • measure mobile coverage for passengers on the rail network to understand the feasibility of using in-carriage scanners and crowdsourced data to provide an overview of connectivity on the mainline routes; and
    • keep under review its definitions of good 4G and 5G coverage so that these definitions continue to reflect consumer expectations as usage and needs evolve; this in turn will need to be reflected in coverage reporting;
  • spectrum: Ms Donelan asks Ofcom to, amongst other things, review and set out a clear and forward-looking rationale for its approach to setting mobile spectrum fees, including an assessment of the current tools used to deliver the benefits of a market-based approach to spectrum management; she also asks Ofcom to prioritise and accelerate its plans to automate the application process for shared access and local access licences for 5G spectrum and be ready to implement adaptive access in advance of the commercial roll out of 6G; she also asks Ofcom to ensure early availability of suitable spectrum for R&D and the timely availability of internationally harmonised spectrum for commercial services to develop and later 6G and future technologies.

To read the letter in full, click here.