EU tells member states to open up spectrum for more 4G

By mid-2014, the 27 European member states will have twice the amount of spectrum than the United States dedicated to high-speed wireless broadband, thanks to a mandate delivered by the European Commission today.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

The European Commission has mandated its 27 member states to add another 120 MHz to the radio spectrum portfolio, allowing up to twice the amount of spectrum for 4G technologies -- such as for Long Term Evolution (LTE) -- than the United States.

The band, currently reserved for 3G (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, or "UMTS"), must be opened up by the European member states by the end of June 2014 at the very latest, EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neeline Kroes said in a statement today

She said, in pre-prepared remarks:

This extra spectrum for 4G in Europe means we can better meet the changing and growing demand for broadband. I want to see Member States acting swiftly to change existing licenses. We all win from faster wireless connections in Europe.

Kroes added that the decision "enforces the harmonized liberalization" of the 2 GHz band in all member states, which means that there will be substantially less internal market fragmentation of this band in the future.

The Commission is also considering a further measure on the upaired terrestrial 2 GHz spectrum (1900-1920 MHz and 2010-2025 MHz), which was initially allocated for use by 3G networks but remains currently unused throughout Europe. 

While Europe's Digital Agenda, in which Kroes spearheads on behalf of the 500 million-plus European citizens, sets the sights for broadband coverage of 30Mb/s by the end of the decade, the European executive body believes that much of this can be helped along by the increase in 4G technologies and uptake in mobile broadband.

Considering the amount of data consumed by Europeans is set to increase by at least 26 percent by 2015, Europe's investment in mobile broadband along with fixed-line services is certainly a wise move.

Editorial standards