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Spectrum auction favours public safety

Two bands of spectrum have been won by broadcast specialist Arqiva, which says they will be used to enhance public safety communications
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Broadcast communications company Arqiva has won two bands of spectrum in an Ofcom auction, fending off competition from the likes of T-Mobile and Motorola.

The spectrum, covering 412-414 MHz paired with 422-424 MHz, will be used to enhance public safety communications, said Arqiva.

"This spectrum will enable us to use today's technologies to help our customers migrate from legacy analogue private mobile radio systems to modern digital networks," said Arqiva's managing director for public safety, Alasdair Davidson, on Monday.

"As a long term player in the communications market, we're pleased to have secured the spectrum for 15 years plus. During that timeframe we expect that technologies will mature which will enable us to meet the growing needs of our customers for mobile data solutions," he added.

Davidson said Arqiva might resell some of the spectrum and operate as a band manager, offering network managed services for third parties. He suggested that the spectrum was "already congested" in dense urban areas and demand would increase in the wake of last year's London bombings, and with the London Olympics scheduled for 2012.

A spokesperson for Arqiva refused to go into further detail about the spectrum's proposed usage.

A report into the 7 July, 2005 London bombings found that the lack of a digital radio network hampered the efforts of emergency service rescue teams. Some teams were unable to communicate properly between the sites of the explosions underground, colleagues at ground level and control rooms.

Arqiva, which provides communication services for emergency services, government agencies and private companies, won the 4 MHz of spectrum last Thursday with a sealed bid of £1,500,025.

Other bidders had included AirRadio, Motorola, T-Mobile, The Joint Radio Company and Ventura Team Spectrum One Limited.

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