ComReg warns network congestion will impede wireless future

22 Nov 2011

Radio spectrum is worth €3.6bn (or 2pc of GDP) to the Irish economy, employing 26,000 people. With wireless technology central to the future of the economy and society, ComReg has decided that a market-based approach to regulating spectrum will be essential.

ComReg today published its radio spectrum strategy, which impacts not only on mobile phone and TV services but also essential functions like communications by police, fire and ambulance services.

ComReg warned that as consumer demand for wireless services like broadband and rich media increase, the risk of network congestion increases and this risk requires the release and refarming of additional spectrum along with investment by operators.

It says the ideal solution involves further investment in wireless backhaul, as well as the continued use of microwave links.

Improvements in radio technology will be essential, such as the evolution from HSPA to HSPA+ and LTE and the use of “white spaces.” However, growth in machine-to-machine (M2M) and RFID applications will add pressure to limited spectrum resources.

The most sought after spectrum bands are 800, 900, 1800, 2600 and 3600MHz.

ComReg said a “market-based” approach to spectrum management will lead to more efficient spectrum usage, especially combined with policy decisions regarding spectrum sharing, infrastructure/network sharing and spectrum trading.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years