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GSMA urges timely release of 700Mhz spectrum

Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, has called on European regulators to give Member States the flexibility to keep pace with the changing needs of consumers by supporting a co-primary mobile broadcasting allocation in the UHF band.

She made her comments in response to the release of the European Commission’s (EC) summary of the results of the Lamy Report public consultation.

“Consumer take-up for mobile broadband has grown dramatically in recent years. Recent research predicts that mobile’s contribution to global data traffic will more than triple in the next five years,” noted Bouverot. “Ensuring networks can meet the increased demand for mobile broadband services requires policymakers to balance the spectrum requirements of multiple industries. The UHF band is a critical frequency range in the bid to provide consumers with good value, high-quality mobile broadband in urban and rural areas. As reflected in the divergent views in the High-Level Group discussion that took place last year, the future use of this band has been hotly debated by the mobile industry and the historic users of the band, including broadcasters,” she said.

“The GSMA is calling for the EC to give Member States the flexibility to keep pace with the changing needs of consumers by supporting a co-primary mobile broadcasting allocation in the UHF band at the ITU’s upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) in November, where the future possible uses of spectrum will be decided,” she declared.

“According to Bouverot, a co-primary allocation will give Member States full flexibility to use UHF spectrum for both mobile and broadcast in the future. “If mobile data continues to grow as predicted, national governments will retain the option of reallocating more spectrum to mobile if required. This flexible solution will protect consumer interests by empowering people in Europe to choose how they want to access content. It also supplies long-term guarantees for the future of digital terrestrial TV in European countries that rely on terrestrial broadcast services, ensuring a robust future for both industries,” she contended.

“Allowing for flexible use of the UHF band will also mean the EC will be one step closer to achieving its Digital Agenda objectives of providing high-quality mobile broadband to European citizens,” she concluded.

In addition, the GSMA calls upon the EC to:

  • Support Member States’ requests for release of the 700MHz band, preferably between 2018 and 2020 and potentially earlier for markets that are able to release it sooner, such as Finland, France, Germany and Sweden; and

  • Accelerate the review of the sub-700MHz band as the mobile and broadcast markets are evolving quite rapidly, as demonstrated by ongoing 5G research programmes in Europe. A review should take place between WRC-15 and WRC-19.

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