EU to use 700 MHz for mobile broadband

The European Commission has taken a decision to use 700 MHz for mobile broadband in European Union (EU) by 2020.

Pascal Lamy, president, Notre Europe, produced the report in his role as chair of the High Level Group, which consists of top executives from Europe’s mobile operators, broadcasters, the wireless microphone community, network operators and technology associations.

Anne Bouverot, director general, GSMA said, “We appreciate the European Commission’s efforts to address the future of this important spectrum and welcome the call for 700 MHz band to be repurposed for mobile broadband in the European Union by 2020.”

“To close the gap with North America and Asia, we believe it is essential that member states have flexibility to move sooner, preferably between 2018 and 2020 and potentially earlier, to respond to the sustained growth in mobile data traffic and the dramatic change in the way citizens across Europe are watching news and entertainment content, relying more and more on the Internet to access programming.”

The report’s recommendations on the sub-700 MHz (470-694 MHz) band could put Europe at a competitive disadvantage compared to other regions. Limiting Europe’s flexibility on the possible co-existence of mobile and digital broadcast services until 2030 will discourage investment in world-leading mobile networks. Predictable, timely and affordable access to spectrum is an essential element for driving Europe’s economic growth and job prospects, delivering significant socio-economic benefits for businesses and individuals.

“We do think the “flexibility option” proposed by Lamy, which would potentially allow some mobile downlink connectivity in traditional broadcast spectrum, merits additional analysis. However, we urge the European Commission to accelerate the review process of the sub-700 MHZ band that has been suggested by Lamy, which would be undertaken no later than 2025 in any event,” added Bouverot.

The following changes will safeguard the future of both mobile and broadcast services: request an early review of the sub-700 MHz band no later than 2020, instead of 2025, to ensure that Europe can respond to the rapidly evolving mobile and media markets; and support a co-primary allocation between broadcast and mobile services for the sub-700 MHz band at the World Radiocommunication Conference-2015, should a member state propose it, to provide flexibility for national decisions.

“We respectfully ask the European Commission to adopt a long-term strategy for the sub-700 MHz band that allows individual member states to decide whether to keep traditional broadcast services in the spectrum or to provide more spectrum for mobile broadband to expand social and economic opportunity throughout Europe,” commented Bouverot.

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