EU agrees technical rules for using LTE devices on GSM frequencies

The European Commission has agreed technical rules for how the opening up of spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands should take place. The rules are designed to avoid interference between 4G and existing 3G and GSM devices and, according to the Commission, must be implemented by member states before the end of this year.

The rules put in place a mechanism for the adoption of technical harmonisation guidelines that will allow GSM bands to be made available for LTE and WiMAX systems. Under EU telecoms regulations, member states have already had to examine competition between operators and address “any distortions of competition.”

Vice-president of the EU Commission’s Digital Agenda body, Neelie Kroes, said that the decision “opens the way for the latest 4G mobile devices to gain access to the radio spectrum they need to operate,” further stimulating high-speed broadband services and more competition. The new rules set out the technical parameters for allowing the co-existence on the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands of 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE/WiMAX services.

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In 2009, the Commission undertook technical studies to demonstrate that LTE and WiMAX could safely co-exist with other systems using the same bandwidth. The studies clarified the conditions under which systems in neighbouring frequency bands, such as aeronautical and railways services could be protected from interference. EU member states are obliged to ensure that no such interference occurs.

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