ComReg releases extra radio spectrum to ease strain on mobile networks

30 Mar 2020

Image: © Michael/

In the wake of unprecedented strain on mobile networks during the coronavirus pandemic, ComReg said it will be releasing extra radio spectrum.

With many now staying at home and needing to work remotely or keep in touch with their loved ones, mobile networks have seen an unprecedented surge in demand. Now, to help ease some of the strain, ComReg has approved plans to release extra radio spectrum to add capacity for mobile phone and broadband connectivity.

The communications regulator said that it has been involved in discussions with telecoms operators, and now plans to release radio spectrum in the 700MHz and the 2.6GHz bands to allow them to meet increased voice and data traffic.

Future Human

It also said it has liberalised the use of the existing 2.1GHz band so that it can be used for 4G connectivity and other technology, rather than just 3G. This, ComReg said, would just be a temporary measure during the coronavirus pandemic.

The regulator’s commissioner, Jeremy Godfrey, said: “Given the extraordinary growth in usage of mobile services, ComReg is moving at pace to provide mobile operators with the flexibility to deploy additional radio spectrum, where this can be of immediate use.

“ComReg will continue to engage with industry and support telecoms companies to ensure that our telecoms networks continue to meet users’ needs during these extremely challenging and evolving times.”

Global networks under pressure

Minister for Communications Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton, TD, added: “We are now more dependent on electronic communications networks and services than we have ever been before. It is imperative that communications networks and systems continue to work and cater for our changed social and economic needs during the Covid-19 situation.”

Many countries across the world are experiencing significant strain on their mobile networks at the moment, as recently revealed by Irish telecoms company Spearline. Its research showed that connectivity and audio quality has experienced a failure rate of as much as 10pc in Italy since the outbreak. Likewise, audio quality has dipped approximately 4pc below normal levels.

Speaking about the findings, Kevin Buckley, co-founder and CEO of Spearline, said: “Affected countries are significantly restricting the movement of individuals, imposing travel freezes and implementing work-from-home arrangements.

“This has led to a high increase in demand for both video and audio calls, and has caused a strain on telecommunications networks across afflicted regions and countries.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic