Friday, February 6, 2009

Ofcom review UK mobile broadband spectrum reports that UK regulator Ofcom looks set to change the way it sells off the airwaves freed up by the shift to digital TV.

It is planning to make a wider band of spectrum available for mobile broadband services than originally proposed. A move that has been welcomed by mobile operators who say it will make for cheaper and more flexible services.

Originally Ofcom promised to safeguard spectrum in the 800Mhz band for wireless microphones and digital terrestrial TV services, but now it proposes to make the whole 800MHz band available for mobile broadband and related services and find "alternative spectrum" for wireless microphones and digital terrestrial TV.

For digital terrestrial TV viewers, it will mean that set-top boxes will have to be retuned, something Ofcom described as "a simple procedure that usually takes a few minutes to complete".

"Ofcom has realised that there is momentum in Europe for mobile broadband so has had to co-operate," said Matthew Howett, an analyst with research firm Ovum.

Finland, France, Sweden, and Switzerland have already decided to release the wider block of spectrum for mobile broadband services and if the UK follows suit it will mean lower equipment prices for consumers.

T-Mobile's head of regulatory affairs, Robyn Durie, welcomed the move. "It is good news for us. Mobile broadband needs a big chunk of spectrum and previously we didn't have that," she said. "It means that consumers will be able to use the same services abroad that they can use at home."

Read the full article here.

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Mobile broadband 'to become increasingly widespread'

Mobile broadband has proved to be popular among UK consumers and is likely to become increasingly widespread, according to one expert. Tim Lord, regulatory director at Hutchison 3G (UK), said Britain had already become a converged communications landscape.

Speaking at the Joint Westminster eForum & Westminster Media Forum keynote seminar, titled Digital Britain, he said: "Mobile broadband has been an enormous success in the UK."

He cited figures from communications regulator Ofcom which show that around 12% of consumers have swapped fixed-line broadband for mobile broadband. He added that around 15% are currently thinking about making such a switch.

However, he said that for internet access via mobile devices to really take off, coverage will have to be improved and backhaul capacity will have to be increased.

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O2 Tops J.D. Power and Associates UK Broadband Study

O2 ranks highest in customer satisfaction for both UK mobile broadband and fixed broadband customers according to the J.D. Power and Associates UK Mobile and Fixed Broadband Studies, released today.

The J.D. Power and Associates study measures performance and reliability; billing; cost of the service; customer service/technical support; and offerings and promotions. O2 ranked highest in the study scoring 712 points out of a possible 1000 for mobile broadband and 767 points for fixed broadband.

"This is a fantastic recognition of the focus we’ve had on the customer experience," said Peter Rampling, O2's Marketing Director. "For both our mobile and home broadband services, we took our time coming to market to place the necessary emphasis on getting the customer experience right. This report demonstrates that we were right to take this approach."

O2 research in October 2008 found that one in ten people using mobile broadband in the UK felt they had been mis-sold the service by their provider. On the back of this, O2 re-launched its mobile broadband offering, reducing prices, creating a new coverage checker and introducing a new 50-day Happiness Guarantee. In December, O2 launched one of the UK's best value Pay & Go Mobile Broadband offerings and has quickly made strong in-roads into this sector of the market.

See all O2's mobile broadband deals here.

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