Title: GSMA argues case for UMTS900

The GSM Association onMonday published a study prepared by industry analyst Ovum that argues in favour of refarming the GSM 900MHz band for 3G use.

It’s a suggestion that the GSMA and most of the big carriers are known to be keen on ­ they are the ones with the 900MHz spectrum rights, after all.

“National governments need to coordinate their spectrum policies to enable the widespread rollout of HSPA in the 900MHz band,” said Tom Phillips, chief government and regulatory affairs officer of the GSMA.

“Such coordination would make HSPA at 900MHz a cost-effective way to provide valuable broadband services to the many people untouched by the high-speed internet revolution that has swept through the developed world,” he said.

“As well as requiring lower up-front investments than 3G/HSPA at 2100MHz, a 3G network at 900MHz is more cost-efficient and is better at handling both voice and data traffic, compared to GSM,” said Stewart Anderton, principal consultant at Ovum. “But 900MHz is one of the most used spectrum bands in the world and regulators must be careful to avoid interference with existing GSM services or interference across national borders.”

Essentially, basic radio principles mean that lower frequencies propagate better and penetrate buildings more easily, but with a cost in capacity.

Ovum’s crystal ball suggests that an extra 450 million Asians, Europeans, and Africans might use 3G by 2012 if all operators make the jump and refarming goes into effect, compared to 200 million otherwise.

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