Representatives from all the Baltic Sea states met in Helsinki this week to discuss use of digital dividend spectrum, raising hopes that the region will follow the likes of the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Finland, Switzerland and Sweden in allocating some of the spectrum to mobile broadband services. Government delegations from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden took part in the talks, hosted by the Finnish Ministry of Communications. The aim of the meeting was to establish a unified, regional approach to the allocation of digital dividend spectrum (790-862MHz band) that will be freed up by the switchover from analogue to digital TV.
Mobile operators and vendors are keen to see at least some of the spectrum allocated to mobile broadband. “There are many millions of citizens in the Baltic countries who will only have access to high-speed broadband if mobile can use the digital dividend spectrum,” claimed Tom Phillips, chief government and regulatory affairs officer at the GSMA. “By ensuring that Baltic countries harmonise their plans with the wider European region, their citizens will benefit from the scale economies of a 500 million population market.” Nokia’s Timo Ali-Vehmas, VP of compatibility and industry collaboration, added that “the mobile industry urgently needs clarity on the availability of spectrum bands and regulatory issues, to accelerate the efficient and cost effective implementation of these mobile broadband services. The 790-862MHz band is important, as it has significant potential to provide excellent coverage over large geographical areas.”