The European Commission yesterday decided to open the current 3G band for 4G (including LTE) services, a move it said will mean that “the EU will enjoy up to twice the amount of spectrum for high speed wireless broadband as in the United States, namely around 1000 MHz”.
The regulator said that it will be mandatory for member states to open the relevant spectrum – around the 2GHz band – by 30 June 2014 at the latest.
In a statement, Neelie Kroes, EC VP, 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 to enforce the “harmonised liberalisation” of the band is intended to avoid fragmentation in the future use of these frequencies.
Under its Radio Spectrum Policy Programme, the EC has a target of making available “at least 1200MHz for wireless broadband services”, which will be aided by the availability of the 1920MHz to 1980MHz and 2110MHz to 2170MHz bands covered by the current decision.
The EC is also considering a follow-up measure involving unpaired terrestrial 2GHz spectrum adjacent to the current bands (1900-1920MHz and 2010-2025MHz), which is allocated for 3G use but remains fallow.
A mandate has already been issued to the CEPT (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations) to study suitable uses of these unpaired frequencies.