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The characteristics which justify exclusive use of spectrum

  • Recommendation for a new definition of exclusive use – study produced by LS telcom on behalf of UK Spectrum Policy Forum

London, UK - Lichtenau/Baden, Germany, 6 February 2020 – Ofcom state that the licences they issue are not exclusive[1]. But what defines the “exclusive spectrum use”?

The report launched today, “The characteristics which justify exclusive use of spectrum” (prepared by LS telcom and published by UK Spectrum Policy Forum) works to address this question. It also highlights how spectrum authorisation and sharing operates in the context of the existing regulatory framework and in the light of Ofcom’s new shared access licensing regime.

The definition of ‘exclusive’ is addressed in the context of spectrum authorisation where a primary objective is to secure the efficient use of spectrum. It further examined whether the current UK spectrum licensing framework provides enough flexibility to provide enough spectrum to users in all geographic locations in the UK and whether changes should be made to Ofcom’s current authorisation framework.

The report presents three main findings:

  1. A definition of “exclusive spectrum use” which it recommends Ofcom and other stakeholders to use in the future, “user access to spectrum over a defined area which provides a predictable incoming and outgoing interference environment and the ability to deploy services in accordance with the user requirements as and when the user requires”.
  2. Ofcom’s introduction of the shared access licensing regime has increased the flexibility of the spectrum licensing framework and brings significant benefits towards realising universal access to spectrum. However, the report recommends that Government, Ofcom and industry continue to work collaboratively to recognise further opportunities for increasing the flexibility of the spectrum licensing framework where and when appropriate.
  3. That no immediate changes are necessary to the current spectrum authorisation framework, but recommends that programmes for innovation should be supported to allow for new multi-layered and multi-dimensional approaches for future authorisation decisions and frameworks and to serve future spectrum demand.

Tony Lavender, chair of the UK Spectrum Policy Forum Steering Board commented: “As we move toward a world where shared use of spectrum is increasingly encouraged it’s good to look again at the diverse range of use cases for spectrum to ensure that a portfolio of licencing solutions exists to meet user needs. LS telcom in their report have addressed this question for the UK and made recommendations to policy makers to ensure spectrum authorisation remains sufficiently focused and agile to meet future demand.”

Saul Friedner, co-author of the report at LS telcom adds: “There has been lots of work and progress made in the approaches to spectrum authorisation in the UK in the last few years, however this study highlights how there can still be some further refinements and adjustments such as to the definition of exclusive use and regular reviews of the approaches and continued collaboration to make sure the licensing framework in the UK remains fit for purpose.”

The full report can be found here:

[1] Ofcom 2018, Enabling opportunities for innovation: Shared access to spectrum supporting mobile technology, accessed online on 3 February 2020


Notes to editors

About UK Spectrum Policy Forum (SPF)
Set up at the request of government and Ofcom the Spectrum Policy Forum (SPF) act as a pro-active industry-led ‘sounding board’ to UK Government and Ofcom on future policy and approaches on spectrum and a cross-industry ‘agent’ for promoting the role of spectrum in society and the maximisation of its economic and social value to the UK. We do this by exchanging news and views on developments in using spectrum, drawing on our industry expertise from around the world.

Media Contact: Harri Turnbull – - 020 7331 2011

About LS telcom
LS telcom is the global leader in spectrum efficiency. In an increasingly connected world, we assure that all spectrum users achieve their radio communication objectives in the most optimal and cost-efficient way. We deliver technologies and services to national and international regulatory bodies, to mobile and broadcast operators, to transport, critical infrastructure, defense, PPDR and vertical markets. We optimize spectrum management and spectrum use and enable new business models based on the internet of things (IoT) and 5G. Spectrum users in all markets rely on our experts and software for the planning and design of optimized radio networks. We plan networks of all technologies, including IoT.

More information about LS telcom can be found here:

Media contact: Christiane Labitzke,, (Germany) +49 (0)7227 95 35 296, (France) + 33 (0)1 84 79 41 95