European Union will have double the spectrum availability for high speed wireless communications than the US
The European Commission (EC) has stated that its Member States must open spectrum around the 2 GHz band for 4G technology use by 2014. This means the European Union (EU) will have double the spectrum availability for high speed wireless communications than the US.
The EC has decided to add another 120 MHz to the radio spectrum portfolio for 4G technologies, such as Long Term Evolution (LTE), around the 2 GHz band. This band is currently solely used for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) wireless communications, the 3G networks, so the shift is a significant one for the future of 4G services across Europe.
The Decision makes it mandatory for Member States to open the relevant spectrum by 30 June 2014 at the latest, and lays down harmonised technical conditions to allow coexistence between different technologies. On this basis the EU will have up to twice the amount of spectrum for high speed wireless broadband as in the US, namely around 1000 MHz.
The Commission's decision means mobile operators will have more opportunities to invest in improved mobile networks, which benefits the whole economy, and consumers will, over time, enjoy faster data transfers and more broadband services.
Greater access to spectrum for 4G technologies will make a substantial contribution to the Digital Agenda broadband target of universal EU broadband coverage of at least 30 Mbps by 2020, the EC stated.
European Commission vice president, Neelie Kroes, said: 'This extra spectrum for 4G in Europe means we can better meet the changing and growing demand for broadband. I want to see Member States acting swiftly to change existing licenses. We all win from faster wireless connections in Europe.'
The decision enforces the harmonised liberalisation of the 2 GHz band (1920-1980 MHz paired with 2110-2170 MHz) in all Member States, avoiding internal market fragmentation in the future use of this band. Introducing flexibility of use in spectrum bands by removing technology restrictions offers a cost effective way for deploying advanced wireless infrastructure in response to market demand, added the EC.
The Commission is also considering a follow up measure on the unpaired terrestrial 2 GHz spectrum (1900-1920 MHz and 2010-2025 MHz) which is currently allocated to use by UMTS networks but remains unused throughout the EU. Such an initiative will aim at ensuring efficient use of the unpaired bands that is most beneficial from an economic, social and environmental point of view by considering alternative applications to terrestrial mobile broadband and taking into account existing rights of use.
In this regard, the Commission has already issued a Mandate to CEPT (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications HeatherMcLeanistrations) to study suitable applications and develop appropriate technical conditions and sharing arrangements.
Smart Chimps thinks: Will this mean that from 2014, 3G services will get worse? Will consumers find that they are almost forced to move up to the more expensive 4G services as their formerly perfectly adequate 3G services become patchy and unreliable? Well, at least this should mean that it will be easier to roam from European country to country using the same 4G device. If roaming on 4G isn't set to bankrupt the user, that is….