In an attempt to stop the increasing level of LTE spectrum fragmentation, the EU has put forward an outline proposal for harmonising digital dividend spectrum and releasing greater capacity for mobile broadband.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, has called upon each member state to complete the issuing of mobile broadband licences by the end of 2012, as part of a five-year plan to make more spectrum available, on a harmonised basis across the region, for high speed services.
This deadline would apply to auctions or other allocations in the 900MHz, 1.8GHz, 2.5GHz and 3.4GHz-3.8GHz bands, where these have not yet been issued. The EC also wants a deadline of January 2013 for the 800MHz digital dividend frequencies but, in reality, the pace at which this spectrum is being freed up varies greatly between countries.
Presently, Germany is the only country to have made the former analogue broadcast spectrum available for mobile broadband, while the UK regulator Ofcom aims to hold its auction by the end of 2011, covering 2.6GHz and 800MHz, and possibly other bands. Article