Regulatory Outlook

Telecoms | UK Regulatory Outlook June 2024

Published on 26th Jun 2024

General election 2024: telecoms aspects

H_2011101743FWI_Regulatory Outlook 2021_JAN 21_ICONS_Telecoms_landscape

General election 2024: telecoms aspects

The two leading parties, Labour and Conservative, competing to form the next government after the general election on 4 July have published their manifestos. While both parties have given commitments on the rollout of gigabit broadband, they provide little indication of how the telecoms regulatory landscape may be altered based on the outcome of the vote.

Labour has, however, announced that it will create a new Regulatory Innovation Office to "help regulators update regulation, speed up approval timelines, and co-ordinate issues that span existing boundaries" which may suggest a more proactive approach to regulation should it win.

Ofcom statement enabling future use of the unpaired 2100 MHz (1899.9-1920 MHz) spectrum

On 1 December 2023, having considered responses to its proposal to revoke the unpaired 2100 MHz spectrum licences, Ofcom released a statement confirming the start of the statutory process for revoking those licences.

Ofcom stated that it made this decision because:

  • revocation to enable reallocation of the spectrum to future users is appropriate and proportionate to meet its objective to secure optimal use of the spectrum; and
  • this will in turn secure the greatest benefits to consumers and citizens by enabling the introduction of new services using the spectrum.

On 18 June Ofcom published an update to confirm that it has decided to revoke all licences in the unpaired 2100 MHz band, with five years' notice. The revocations will take effect on 3 April 2029.

Ofcom sets out its vision for hybrid sharing of the upper 6GHz spectrum band for both Wi-Fi and mobile services

In July 2023, Ofcom consulted on an approach that would allow both Wi-Fi and mobile services to share spectrum in the upper 6GHz band, known as "hybrid sharing".

Ofcom has now published its vision for the future of the Upper 6 GHz band. While Ofcom has stated that it is too early to identify a preferred approach, it has outlined two possible solutions that could form part of a sharing framework:

  1. Variable spectrum split: both Wi-Fi and mobile would be able to use any part of the band where the other is not deployed, but have sections of it they are prioritised in. This could be done by each technology transmitting a specific signal so they can sense and avoid each other.
  2. Indoor/outdoor split: the band could be managed to prioritise the indoor use of Wi-Fi while also prioritising mobile use outdoors.

Ofcom has stated that the most important factors in making its decision will be:

  • achieving the greatest overall consumer benefits;
  • being commercially attractive; and
  • coexisting with current users of the spectrum.

Factors that Ofcom said are highly desirable to achieve are:

  • a phased approach to sharing; and
  • flexibility to recognise national and local priorities.

Ofcom will be setting out further details next year on how it intends to make the upper 6Hz band available in the UK.


View the full Regulatory Outlook

Interested in hearing more? Expand to read the other articles in our Regulatory Outlook series

View the full Regulatory Outlook

Regulatory law affects all businesses.

Osborne Clarke’s updated Regulatory Outlook provides you with high level summaries of important forthcoming regulatory developments to help in-house lawyers, compliance professionals and directors navigate the fast-moving business compliance landscape in the UK.

Receive Regulatory Outlook each month

A round-up of forthcoming regulatory developments – straight to your inbox

* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

Connect with one of our experts

Interested in hearing more from Osborne Clarke?