3G to operate on lower frequency

Ofcom says it hopes to carry out plans that will see 3G run on mobile phone frequencies reserved for second-generation services. At present these frequencies are divided into two tiers. Vodafone and O2 use one tier that operates at 900Mhz, while they both also use 1800Mhz along with Orange and T-Mobile. Ofcom currently restricts these frequencies to be used solely for 2G.

Ofcom plans to allow another three operators to use the lower 900Mhz frequency allowing both second and third generation services. The signals from the 900MHZ frequency carry further (meaning rural areas won't need a vast amount of phone masts) and are also better at penetrating buildings. The plan should also see a reduction in cost for 3G services.

The consultation period is due to close at the end of November, with Ofcom possibly awarding licences as soon as 2009 with services beginning by 2010.

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