Cell tower

Quarterly Update – July 2020

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Even in lockdown the expansion and upgrade of the UK’s cellular resources has continued and as we head into the Summer, here’s a round-up of what’s changed –as ever, we’ve pooled the results of our own RF survey data with updates provided by Dr Peter Clarke (of pedroc.co.uk) to produce this latest UK cellular spectrum guide, which can be downloaded as a presentation from here or as a datasheet from here.

2G

O2 have been rolling out 4G EARFCN 3725 in the 900MHz band, leaving 2G in just the top end of their range on these sites. Vodafone (VF) appear to have an emerging plan to use a minimal amount of spectrum as dedicated 2G capacity and then embed other 2G channels in 3G/4G carriers as required. EE’s deployed 2G channel portfolio is also decreasing to support 40MHz L18.

4G

As mentioned above, O2 have been deploying a 10MHz 4G carrier of EARFCN 3725 in the 900MHz band to some sites. EARFCN 3700 at 5MHz remains present in other areas. VF have deployed 4G to parts of the London Underground using a range of bands, including 900MHz which provided the first introduction to EARFCN 3610 10MHz. Outside of the Underground, various VF 4G 900MHz deployments exist, such as EARFCN 3626. EE have in some areas increased the bandwidth of their second 1800MHz carrier to 20MHz using the new EARFCN of 1815. Channels 1761 (10MHz) and 1788 (15MHz) are expected to remain for some time however.

5G

An additional VF 5G channel has been detected in some parts of the country on NR-ARFCN 628032. And that’s it, really – quite a quiet quarter, maybe the pace of change will pick as Summer arrives and the lockdown eases.

References

Spectrum Auction 2020 (Ofcom)

5G in the UK (Ofcom)

Additional updates by Peter Clarke

Author

  • Joe is a telecoms engineer, technical trainer, expert witness and author with a deep and abiding interest in technology in general. His particular captivation with communications technologies has led to him being invited to work on telecoms and training contracts across the globe. 

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