In the March 2016 budget, the UK Government announced a new commitment that 750MHz of public sector spectrum in bands below 10GHz would be made available by 2022. On 14 April 2016, Ofcom set the wheels in motion by publishing a consultation on the release of spectrum in the 3.8GHz to 4.2GHz bands. The consultation follows demand from stakeholders interested in high bandwidth applications, which require relatively large amounts of spectrum. The purpose of the consultation is to understand the opportunities for and impacts of more intensive sharing in this band, with a particular interest in new innovative services.

This band is the first to be considered under the new Framework for Spectrum Sharing, also published 14 April 2016. The framework outlines those elements to be taken into account when assessing opportunities for shared access to the spectrum - these include: the characteristics of use, for both incumbent and prospective users; barriers that may limit the extent of current or future sharing; and regulatory tools and market technology enablers that match those relevant characteristics and barriers.

Potential bidders will be able to submit their comments until 5pm on 9 June 2016. Ofcom plans to publish an update on its findings in summer 2016.