Share and share alike: 3G players encouraged to work together

Europe gives better flexibility tips than Jane Fonda

Europe gives better flexibility tips than Jane Fonda

The European Commission (EC) is working on a scheme to allow 3G licence holders to share their networks with other mobile operators. Erkki Liikanen, the European Commission minister responsible for enterprise and the information society, said the idea was to encourage member states to make licences more flexible. Speaking at a press conference today, Liikanen said: "Being able to transfer spectrum rights could have the potential of achieving a better efficiency of spectrum usage and provide more liquidity in radio spectrum investments." UK licence holders are currently under financial pressure, partly caused by government restrictions on spectrum and base station sharing. Many European mobile operators have joined forces to share infrastructure development costs such as BT subsidiary Viag Interkom and T-Mobile, and Hutchison 3G and mmO2. A spokesman for Liikanen claimed all changes to the spectrum rules had to be approved by individual member states. But he said it would be better if there were no licence changes at the moment because the development conditions are stable. Yet how the proposed changes to the rules will affect current UK licences remains to be seen. A spokesman for the Radiocommunications Agency, the body responsible for UK 3G licences, said: "No decision has been taken yet on how we would introduce spectrum sharing in the UK but we will be issuing a consultation paper shortly. The EC is advocating what we're already working on."