Tuesday, January 24, 2012

UK 2012 Olympic Delegation: All Available Frequencies (and Athletes)

Back in October I had a post predicting hard time for mobile services during the London Olympic Games this summer:

"London mayor Boris Johnson, Three CEO David Dyson and others have warned that London will run out of mobile capacity within a year, and that the influx of visitors to the 2012 Olympics was likely to crash the existing networks" (see "A Year Before the Olympics - London is Running Out of Mobile Capacity" - here).

It turns out that the UK regulator, Ofcom, wasn't ignoring the challenge and "has been working on a plan since 2006 to ensure that viewers will not miss any of the sporting action".

In a new report, Ofcom says that ".. The event presents a unique logistical challenge never faced before by the UK, with a need to assign up to 20,000 wireless frequencies to be used for the Games in London, more than double the number usually assigned in a year" and lists how the demand for capacity will be met:

"To meet the extra demands of broadcasters, media and the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) during Games time, Ofcom has developed a plan to secure additional capacity. This will be achieved in four main ways:

  • By borrowing spectrum on a short-term basis from public sector bodies, such as the Ministry of Defence
  • Ensuring that civil spectrum is used efficiently by making unused frequencies available. An example of this is spectrum that will shortly be auctioned by Ofcom, but is currently not being used
  • Making use of spectrum freed up by the digital switchover
  • Using spectrum that is available without the need for a licence
See "Record spectrum demand at London 2012 Games" - here.


  1. Telesperience strongly believes that adding capacity alone does not solve the problems around this type of situation. There comes a point where it isn't possible to add any more capacity. Then you simply have to manage the capacity you have more efficiently. Besides as we all know having "enough capacity" doesn't automatically alleviate the bottleneck issues.

    Specifically, for London we've been arguing that smarter tariffing and the strategic use of services can help shape the traffic in order to maintain QoS. We wrote a paper outlining some of the issues around this at the end of last year which you might find interesting. You can download for free from http://www.microsperience.com/?p=5576

    There's huge potential for policy control to help provide a better telecoms experience at the Olympics this year. Controls will be a big issue due to the large number of roamers. Video optimisation will be another challenge. In fact, London could be a great test bed for a wide range of policy-based use cases.

    Other nations are ramping up to major events and so are looking to London to see what works and what doesn't. Be interesting to see what happens.

  2. The complete controls will be a big matter because a large number of roamers. Video optimization will be another challenge. Smart and strategic use of traffic shaping services can help to maintain Quality.

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