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EU ratifies spectrum refarming rules

21 октября 2009

The European Union announced on Tuesday it has officially ratified rules opening up GSM spectrum for high-speed mobile services.

The new rules update the 22-year-old GSM Directive that reserved certain frequencies in the 900-MHz band for use only by GSM access technologies.

"National administrations have now six months to transpose the directive and to implement the decision so that the GSM spectrum bands are effectively made available for 3G," said a statement from the EU.

The new rules are aimed at boosting the rollout of mobile broadband services, and operators will also be able to reuse the same spectrum to launch next-generation services such as 3G LTE.

"The Decision foresees the possibility of amendments to include technical usage parameters for further non GSM systems for which compatibility may be established at a later stage," said the EU.

A statement from telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding reiterated that the new rules will "strengthen competition and save the mobile industry up to 1.6 billion in capital costs."

Late last week the U.K. government launched a consultation on its proposals for refarming GSM spectrum for use by more advanced mobile services, as well as auctioning frequencies in the 800 MHz-band, known as the digital dividend, and the 2.5-GHz band, which can be used for WiMAX services.

The U.K. also recommended introducing caps on the amount of spectrum that can be held by any single operator.

"When opening up the existing GSM licences, national regulators will have to examine competition between mobile operators and address distortions of competition if any," said the EU.

The rules mandated on Tuesday were first proposed in November 2008 and approved by the European Parliament in May 2009, and the Council of Ministers in July.

"In harsh economic times, Europe's mobile industry got today a clear signal of strong support from policy makers... With decisions like this, Europe ensures that we will keep our competitive edge in wireless services," said Reding.

Источник: Total Telecom

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