EC moves to remove spectrum restrictions

The European Commission proposed to open up the potential for spectrum this week, increasing the number and choice of wireless services available and expanding their geographic coverage to the benefit of all European citizens.

In essence, the Commission is proposing to repeal the GSM Directive of 1987, which helped make GSM a success in Europe by allocating certain radio frequencies (900MHz and 1800MHz) to GSM services.

But many believe the directive is now out of date as it prevents more advanced, next generation wireless technologies from using the reserved spectrum.

“Radio spectrum is a crucial economic resource which must be properly managed across Europe to unlock the potential of our telecoms sector,” said Viviane Reding, the EU’s Telecoms Commissioner.

“In the EU, we must therefore remove regulatory barriers and facilitate the deployment of mobile communications by allowing new technologies to share spectrum with existing ones. This proposal is a concrete step towards a more flexible market driven approach to spectrum management in Europe. It will increase competition in the use of spectrum bands and enhance accessibility of European citizens to multimedia services.”

The proposal would allow new technologies to coexist with GSM in the 900MHz and 1800MHz frequencies, while preserving the continued operation of GSM in the EU.

The proposed repeal of the GSM Directive requires the formal approval of the European Parliament and EU Council of Ministers. All measures proposed are expected to be in place by the end of this year.

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