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Europe proposes 700 MHz reallocation for wireless broadband

Spectrum Wireless Radio Mobile 4G 5G

The European Council has proposed the reallocation of 700 MHz spectrum in a bid to boost mobile broadband penetration and uptake.

In a draft decision yet to be ratified by the European Parliament, operators will be told to adopt the 700 MHz band by 2020 as it aims to boost broadband services across the continent. The Council states properties of the band lend itself to offering high speeds and broad coverage for mobile internet services, while simultaneously smoothing the road to 5G.

Should the motion pass following pending negotiations with the European Parliament, operators will have until June 2018 to formulate their plans and publicly present a national roadmap strategy for how they will implement the move. The Council has said EU countries must reassign the 700 MHz band (694 – 790 MHz) to enable wireless broadband services by 30th June 2020, but has built in leeway in the case of extenuating circumstances forcing delay.

“With the opening of the 700 MHz band for mobile broadband an important step towards the availability of broadband for everybody in the EU has been taken,” said Henk Kamp, Dutch Minister for Economic Affairs. “Fast internet is not only important for economic development in the EU, but also for the daily life of its citizens. Together with other measures the 700 MHz band ensures fast internet in the EU by 2020.”

The move to reallocate the 700 MHz band has been applauded by the GSMA, although it did state its hopes for a smoother implementation of the regulation across the continent than was previously witnessed with the previous ruling for 800 MHz.  The risk of extensive delay threatens Europe’s position as a leading territory come the 5G era, it says. The GSMA did, however, praise early adopters France and Germany, which have both begun licensing 700 MHz frequencies long before the proposed 2020 deadline.

“We are hoping to see a different scenario than we had with the implementation of 800MHz, where certain countries requested longer periods of time to release the band” said John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “We recognise that there are differences in frequency use among Member States, and it is only natural that timing may vary slightly. However, we should agree on maintaining 2020 as an ultimate milestone in the shift to mobile for the 700MHz band. Without this commitment, Europe is at risk of falling behind other regions in mobile broadband development.”


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