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U.K. Spectrum Auction Clears Path For Private GSM Nets

LONDON — U.K. telecomms regulator Ofcom is prepping the ground to auction low power radio frequencies in the 1.8GHz region that paves the way for private GSM networks in office buildings using existing handsets.

Unmodified GSM handsets will also be able to roam on to localized base stations in the new bands, and thus connect them through company PBXs.

Successful bidders for the low power ‘guard band’, in the 1781.7 to 1785MHz and 1876.7 to 1880MHz range — which have till now been reserved as a buffer between GSM cellular and DECT networks — will have to comply with a spectrum mask based on GSM specifications.

Ofcom expects to award between five and ten tradable licences on the basis of equal access to the whole of the bands in the U.K. on a shared basis. No company will be awarded more than of the licenses.

The auction will be the first to award frequencies on a “technology and application -– neutral basis” since the regulator’s spectrum framework review last year brought in the policy of allowing license winners to use the band as they choose, within certain criteria.

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