EC seeks greater European harmony on 700 MHz for mobile services

The European Commission stepped up efforts to coordinate the use of 700 MHz spectrum for mobile services only, proposing that more spectrum is made available for mobile services in this frequency band across the European Union (EU) by 2020.

The recent World Radiocommunication Conference in November 2015 (WRC-15) confirmed that the 700 MHz band should be allocated to both the broadcasting and mobile service in Region 1 (Europe and Africa) as of 2015.

However, the view of the Commission is that the 700 MHz band "offers a rare opportunity for near-global harmonisation of this frequency band for wireless broadband use", and wants to secure it for the future development of 4G and 5G mobile services across the EU.

For the broadcasting sector, it noted that frequencies in the sub-700 MHz area (470-694 MHz) "will remain available, as a priority, for audiovisual services," as was also outlined at WRC-15.

Günther Oettinger, commissioner for the digital economy and society, said the proposal shows that the EU can have both "a vibrant audiovisual sector as well as the spectrum we will need for 5G.

"The 700 MHz band will be ideal for new promising fields like connected driving and the Internet of Things. I want Europe to lead in 5G. That is why all Member States must act by 2020," Oettinger said.

In detail, the Commission proposes that the 700 MHz band should be assigned to mobile broadband by Jun. 30, 2020 at the latest in all EU countries.

"This will be in line with the deployment of 5G, foreseen as from 2020," the Commission said in a statement.

It noted that France and Germany have already authorised the use of the 700 MHz band for mobile services, while Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the UK have outlined plans to repurpose the 700 MHz band in the next few years.

For more:
- see the EC release
- see the EC proposal

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