Sharing defence spectrum

The Ministry of Defence intends to open up some military frequency bands for new sharing opportunities for public and private sector users.

MOD statement on sharing defence spectrum

As part of the government’s plans to release 500 MHz of spectrum below 5 GHz by 2020, the Ministry of Defence intends to open up some military frequency bands for new sharing opportunities for public and private sector users. This is in addition to releases at 2310-2400 and 3410-3600 MHz that defence is planning to take to market in 2013/14 and 2015/16 respectively.

All sharing requests will be considered and where appropriate, technical assessments will be conducted to ascertain whether sharing is possible. If feasible, negotiations will take place between MOD and the customer to establish the commercial terms and conditions and regulatory constraints. Where an agreement is reached, MOD will request that Ofcom initiates the process to grant a Wireless Telegraphy Act licence to the customer to enable them to use the spectrum.

Sharing defence spectrum – update


In November 2011, MOD published plans to share its spectrum and expressions of interest were sought for the following 5 frequency bands:

870–872 MHz paired with 915–917 MHz 1427–1452 MHz 2025–2070 MHz 4800–4900 MHz 10-10.125 GHz

Responses were received from a variety of stakeholders for all the bands listed. These responses were considered when prioritising the bands for release and developing route-to-market plans. A summary of the expressions of interest results were published on the Defence spectrum sharing website in January 2012 and can be viewed in the section, ‘Other sharing bands’, below.


MOD intends to consult with other government departments on the future use of 870–872 MHz and 915–917 MHz with the intention of transferring management responsibility to another government department or releasing the spectrum to Ofcom.

870–872 MHz and 915–917 MHz was prioritised first for sharing and MOD has made significant progress by clearing all military users from the band. Whilst there is no requirement to use this spectrum again for military purposes, some other government departments have informed MOD that there is a legacy and emerging use that needs consideration before any exploitation plans can be finalised. In addition, Europe is expected to make a decision on the future use of this spectrum by 2014/15, most likely allocating it to short-range devices on a licence-exempt basis. These are some of the reasons why Defence intends to consult other government departments with the intention of transferring management responsibility by the end of 2012. The outcome of the government consultation will be published on this website.

MOD has begun preparing other bands for release below 5 GHz, as part of its own Spectrum Reform Programme, which will help government meet its target of releasing 500 MHz of spectrum below 5 GHz by 2020. In doing so, some existing users are being transferred to higher frequency bands, including 10–10.125 GHz. In the short term, until the preparatory work is complete, defence will be unable to share spectrum at 10 GHz as previously advertised. This will be reviewed periodically and updates will be published on this website.

Progress has been made on establishing the regulatory process to allow defence to share the remaining spectrum but more work is required before the plans can be fully implemented. In the meantime, defence will continue to prepare the remaining bands for sharing by progressing its technical preparatory work. The bands available for sharing are:

  • 1427–1452 MHz
  • 2025–2070 MHz
  • 4800–4900 MHz

If you have an interest in sharing the bands above and would like to test or develop equipment, requests for Non-Operational Licences should be sent to Ofcom.

3500–3580 MHz

In November 2011 the MOD advertised short term sharing opportunities in 3500–3580 MHz, prior to the planned sale in 2015/16. The MOD has decided to withdraw this band whilst the release plans are finalised for the entire 3410-3600 MHz band. Applications for Non-Operational Licences are still welcome and applications should be submitted to Ofcom.

How to apply to share MOD spectrum

Complete and submit the MOD Sharing Defence Spectrum form and post or email it to:

Defence Spectrum Exploitation, 04-A-37, Ministry of Defence, Main Building, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2HB

Email: Sharing Defence Spectrum

We will:

  • assess the technical requirements of your request – including any potential impact on any known system currently using the requested frequencies
  • assess cost of requested spectrum including our fees for undertaking this work
  • accept or reject application to share Defence Spectrum
  • (if an application is accepted) - draft and issue contract for the term of the agreement

On receipt of a signed contract we will:

  • request Ofcom to grant a Wireless Telegraphy Act licence
  • issue annual invoices for fees as detailed in the contract
  • undertake an annual review of the contract and spectrum usage

Applicants should note that the MOD is not obliged to enter into any trade and may refuse an application at any point prior to contract signing. Examples of reasons for refusal to trade may include unmanageable technical issues, issues relating to national security and the application is likely to distort competition.

Other sharing bands - expressions of interest 3 February 2012

Following the request for ‘expressions of interest’ in the bands listed below, multiple applications were received for each band and an initial review was undertaken. As there is sufficient demand for all the bands, defence will develop its sharing approach with Ofcom in the priority order shown in the table below. If there is demand for other services in addition to those listed in the table, please email the CIO Spectrum Office with supporting information.

Priority Frequency Band Service Type (from EoIs)
1 870 – 872 and 915-917 MHz Smart metering/grid
2 4800–4900 MHz Urban wi-fi
3 2025 – 2070 MHz Wireless camera use, mobile data
4 10–10.125 GHz Point to point microwave links
5 1427–1452 MHz Backhaul to support provision of broadband IP connectivity

Any of these bands may be withdrawn at any time during this process to support defence requirements.


Following the launch of the Sharing Defence Spectrum service on 7 November 2011 a number of questions and requests for clarification have been received. Responses to these questions can be found below.

Q. What are the typical licence durations?

A. The licence duration has not yet been determined and will be agreed on a case by case basis.

Q. How will you use the information provided in an expression of interest?

A. We will use the information to determine the demand in the bands and to develop a strategy for future exploitation. However, the MOD reserves the right to choose not to open up these or any other bands for sharing.

Q. What information is required in an expression of interest?

A. Please provide no more than 500 words for each of the following questions

1. Which spectrum bands would you like to use? 

2. Please provide a short description of the expected use. 

3. When do you require access to the spectrum and for how long? (Please provide a date and duration)

4. Where would you potentially like to use the spectrum?

a. Coverage Area

5. How often would you require access to the spectrum?

a. Permanently

b. Intermittently

    i. Hourly

    ii. Daily

    iii. Weekly

    iv. Monthly

c. Several times a year

6. Who would own the licence for the intended use?

7. Who are the users of this service?

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