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450-470 MHz band alignment

1.Introduction and Background

1.1Introduction

This consultation document describes the way in which the Radiocommunications Agency (RA) will implement 450-470 MHz band alignment. RA’s plan includes the entire UK, including Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The radio spectrum is a finite resource, and it is a prime purpose of the Agency to manage its use optimally. Aligning spectrum between 450 and 470 MHz will expand its social and economic benefits and increase the efficiency of its use, allowing users to gain renewed benefit from assignments in this band.

In some areas the demand for spectrum is growing and outstripping supply. Therefore there is a need to make spectrum available for new and innovative services as well as to enhance existing services. The 450-470 MHz band alignment project, when completed, will yield European-harmonised spectrum that can be used for new and existing radio services. This band re-planning will involve moving existing users and reassigning them in the band to achieve commonality with the 450-470 MHz band structure in Europe. The aligned state is shown in Figure 1, with mobile transmit below 460 MHz and base transmit above 460 MHz. The alignment process will transpose base-station and mobile blocks of spectrum and alter their spacing to 10 MHz.

450 MHz

460 MHz

470 MHz

Base transmit

Mobile transmit

10 MHz separation

Figure 1. Template for alignment of 450-470 MHz

1.2What are we consulting on?

Views from customers, dealers, manufacturers, radio site owners and other interested parties are sought on the implications of the 450-470 MHz band alignment process described here. The alignment is based on the spectrum configuration defined in CEPT1 Recommendation T/R 25-08 Annex 1, which is referenced in the European Common Allocations (ECA) Table (ERC2 Report 253). This process is presented from both technical and economic viewpoints.

1.3Background

RA intends to align the current 450-470 MHz band configuration with that of our European neighbours. The requirement for the UK to commit itself to this project arises from historical differences between the UK and Europe in their planning of this band. One of these differences has caused radio services in the UK to experience interference from Continental radio systems, particularly analogue cellular systems.

A 1991 report commissioned by RA recommended reversal of the base and mobile transmit frequencies in the band, to conform to neighbouring European countries. This would allow RA to co-ordinate frequency use and hence control interference. Further independent support was provided through the 1994 Stage 3 Radio Spectrum Review, endorsed by the Government. Within the CEPT administrations, the second-phase Detailed Spectrum Investigation (DSI Phase 2) concerning use of this spectrum resulted in a European Radiocommunications Committee Report (ERC Report 25, or the ECA Table), which detailed the recommended configuration and major utilisation of each band.

The first major technical step of the alignment process requires an UK band plan that complies with the spectrum configuration template quoted in the ECA Table (CEPT Recommendation T/R 25-08 Annex 1). Another of the DSI Phase 2 recommendations was that the analogue cellular systems should be closed down. This has happened, but the spectrum is likely to be repopulated in time with other systems. The UK

1 CEPT – the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations.

2 ERC – the European Radiocommunications Committee.

3 ERC Report 25 – ‘The European Table of Frequency Allocations and Utilisations Covering the Frequency Range 9 kHz to 275 GHz’, commonly known as the ECA Table.

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