DCMS Letter to Ofcom on the Future of Wireless Networks – HTML Version

The Right Honorable Oliver Dowden CBE MP

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports

4th floor

100, rue du Parlement

London SW1A 2BQ

Dame Mélanie Dawes



Ref: MC2021 / 15153 / DC

July 28, 2021

Dear Mélanie,

On June 24, the government announced its intention to develop a long-term vision for the development, deployment and adoption of wireless networks in the UK. We are at a critical juncture in the development of future wireless networks, and our wireless infrastructure strategy will establish a policy framework to ensure that, by 2030, advanced wireless infrastructure is an integral part of the economic and social fabric of the country. UK and a significant contribution to government growth and program improvement.

I welcome the launch by Ofcom of its strategic review of the mobile market, and the work you are undertaking to develop your spectrum roadmap and spectrum management strategy. Government and Ofcom both have a role to play in ensuring that the UK continues to get the most out of competition and innovation in the market. The government will set clear policy direction as part of its wireless infrastructure strategy, including any changes to the regulatory framework needed to support these ambitions.

To support this work, I would be grateful if Ofcom would provide evidence and analysis on the following areas.

  1. Future wireless connectivity needs – Ofcom’s assessment of the potential level of service that may be required to meet the needs and expectations of consumers, businesses and sectors by 2030 in terms of speed, reliability and latency.

  2. Market Developments – Ofcom’s assessment of changes and trends affecting the UK mobile market, the impact these changes are likely to have on market competition and investments in new technologies. These may include, for example: changes in the MVNO market; the growth of high-end services; convergence of networks; the emergence of new players such as neutral hosts, hyperscalers, system integrators / private network operators, localized MNOs; and network design changes such as software and open networks.

  3. Spectrum – given the criticality of the spectrum for future wireless networks:

    a). Ofcom’s assessment of whether the UK spectrum management framework will remain fit for purpose to deliver the best results for the UK, and any changes to the framework that may need to be considered, given the emerging and anticipated changes in the mobile and private network operator markets, networks, technology and industry ecosystem.
    b). Ofcom’s preliminary assessment of the potential spectrum needs over the next 15 years for mobile networks and how, in terms of spectrum bands and mechanisms, these might be met.
    vs). Efficient use of spectrum: Ofcom’s assessment of the possibility of improving the efficiency of spectrum use in existing licensed spectrum holdings, and Ofcom’s assessment of options for doing so. Ofcom’s assessment of new technological capabilities and innovations that can be used to improve and modernize spectrum access and licensing, and Ofcom’s plans to implement them.

It would be helpful for Ofcom to provide your current assessment of future connectivity needs by the end of December and an initial assessment of market developments and spectrum issues by the end of January 2022, with the option to provide assessments. updates in 2022.

I look forward to working with you as this work develops, and I know the team here looks forward to a collaborative and open approach to this work with Ofcom.


The Right Honorable Oliver Dowden CBE MP
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports

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