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Europe moves to allocate 700 MHz band entirely to mobile

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The European Commission has announced a proposal to coordinate the 700 MHz band for mobile services and restrict TV broadcasting to the sub-700 MHz bands.

This move comes less than three months after the ITU allocated the 700 MHz (specifically 694-790 MHz) band to mobile in the EMEA region, and thus represents pretty rapid action by EC standards. The Commission is conflating this move with its Digital Single Market idea, which bundles a bunch of initiatives together into a claimed strategy.

“28 different approaches to manage radio frequencies in the EU do not make economic sense in the Digital Single Market,” said Andrus Ansip, VP for the DSM.  “We propose a joint approach to use the 700 MHz band for mobile services. This band is the sweet spot for both wide coverage and high speeds. It will give top-quality internet access to all Europeans, even in rural areas, and pave the way for 5G, the next generation of communication network.”

“We cannot have high quality mobile internet for everything and for everyone everywhere unless we have modern infrastructure and modern rules,” said Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society. “With this proposal we show that we can have both: a vibrant audiovisual sector as well as the spectrum we will need for 5G. The 700 MHz band will be ideal for new promising fields like connected driving and the Internet of Things. I want Europe to lead in 5G. That is why all member states must act by 2020.”

If member states really put their foot down they might even manage to move TV broadcast entirely to the 470-694 MHz band in less than four years, but the actual deadline day is 30 June 2020 so there’s not need to overdo it. The EC reckons that’s when 5G will kick off, although they seem to have different ideas in Sweden, and this announcement is definitely more substantial than their last one – they’ve even provided an FAQ.


One comment

  1. Fred Perkins 02/02/2016 @ 3:23 pm

    So the mobile lobby has convinced the politicians that they need more spectrum to deliver their wonderful new world. They want to grab spectrum so they can milk consumers on business models for premium data (that they are currently giving away on flawed business models, while they grab consumer interest).

    Are these the same telcos that can’t sustain even basic phone connections on a commute in major metropolis areas around Europe? Are they the same telcos that rip off delivery of basic email data, while giving away multiples of the same bandwidth to deliver the “connectivity on the move” which they claim everyone demands? Are they the same telcos that have not been able to demonstrate the ability to deliver any BROADCAST stream capable of supporting the audience size of one single PSB in any EC country?

    Yes they are, on all counts. Decades of successful development of digital TV broadcasting has just been thrown away, handed over to mobile telcos, with their universally pathetic customer service performance, but now able to control and manage spectrum use for their own obscene financial interests.

    We’ll live to regret this lunatic decision, after which we’ll doubtless have countless “inquiries” as to how it was allowed to happen.

    Spectrum is a scarce commodity. Throwing it at nice-to-have facilities with limited – and therefore expensive- reach and capacity, just because it’s technically possible, is crazy. More so if it’s at the expense of broadcast technologies that have NO incremental costs on expanding usage by consumers.

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