London (ots) - Ofcom and the Radiocommunications Agency today
announced the beginning of a joint consultation on proposals to allow
the trading of rights to use radio spectrum.
The providers of wireless communications services such as mobile
telephony, pagers, radio and television broadcasts, as well as the
providers and users of two-way radios and many other types of
service, are each assigned different frequencies within the
The large majority of those services operate under the terms of
licences issued by the Radiocommunications Agency - the DTI agency
responsible for the management of most non-military spectrum in the
UK. After 29 December 2003, the Radiocommunications Agency's
responsibilities will pass to the new communications regulator,
At present, these spectrum licences cannot be traded or sold.
Ofcom and the Radiocommunications Agency are now proposing to
introduce new mechanisms to allow trading in rights to use spectrum.
The UK is in the lead in Europe in issuing such a substantial
consultation on spectrum trading. Ofcom and the Radiocommunications
Agency are now seeking views on this fundamental and potentially
far-reaching change in spectrum management.
The Communications Act 2003 requires Ofcom to further the
interests of citizens in relation to communications matters and to
further the interests of consumers in relevant markets, where
appropriate by promoting competition. The Act also requires Ofcom to
ensure the optimal use of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Spectrum trading will play a significant role in achieving those
statutory requirements. An open market in spectrum, governed by fair
and effective competition rules, will make it easier for new wireless
communications services to become established. Trading will ensure
the most efficient use of the radio spectrum and bring a greater
choice of services.
Ofcom Chief Executive Stephen Carter said:
"Spectrum trading will allow innovation and choice to shape the
future allocation of spectrum, in place of the centrally planned,
top-down approach of the past."
"Our aim is to stimulate an environment in which the UK's
communications industries flourish. The introduction of spectrum
trading is a major component of that overarching policy objective".
Welcoming publication of the consultation Stephen Timms, Minister
for E-Commerce, said:
"This is a milestone in the transfer to Ofcom of its stewardship
of the radio spectrum. This consultation document can help unlock
even greater benefits from our use of the radio spectrum. It is
important that we make the best possible use of this finite resource.
This is key to the provision of new wireless services that underpin
modern communications for business, entertainment and leisure, as
well as for essential public services."
"The proposals in this consultation document can play an important
part by making spectrum available more quickly and efficiently for
the new wireless services on which future prosperity depends. I
welcome this publication as a significant further step in the
programme of market-based reforms that we have taken forward since
1997. I hope that as many as possible will give Ofcom the
benefit of their views so that we can look ahead with confidence to a
successful launch of spectrum trading."
A summary of the consultation can be found at
The summary is written for non-experts and has been granted Crystal
Mark status by the Plain English Campaign.
The full consultation document - with all technical detail - can be
found at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/current/
The closing date for responses is 13 February 2004.
Notes to Editors and CSEs
Ofcom will be the UK's new communications industry regulator with
wide ranging responsibilities across the UK's communications markets
when it assumes its powers at the end of 2003. Ofcom will inherit
the duties of the five existing regulators it will replace -the
Broadcasting Standards Commission, the Independent Television
Commission, Oftel, the Radio Authority and the Radiocommunications
Agency. An independent regulatory body, Ofcom will also fulfil the
additional duties enacted in the provisions laid down in the
Communications Act 2003
This information is provided by RNS
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ots Originaltext: Ofcom
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