EU frees up more spectrum for 3G services

The European Union is making more radio spectrum available for accessing Internet services over mobile phones, saying the use of lower frequencies would cut operators' costs and let them reach customers over a wider area, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the European Commission suggested allowing 3G services, also called UMTS, to access the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands currently dedicated solely to voice and data services using older technology known as GSM.

That would mean 3G phone companies could use fewer mobile phone masts to reach more people, letting more customers use their phones to go online to check mail or stream video clips, the Associated Press report said.

The EU cited a wireless communications industry estimate that the move would cut network costs by 40% over five years.

The decision needs the support of EU governments and the European Parliament before it can take effect by the end of the year. Approval is expected, the report said.