EU wants LTE spectrum agreed by 2013; as French operators start tests

The EU's Commissioner for the digital agenda has told member states that they must free-up the necessary spectrum needed for LTE by 2013. The Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, said that those EU countries having problems making the spectrum available must work harder to meet the deadline.

"The commission is convinced that its proposal to fix 2013 as the target date is necessary and realistic," said Kroes, "and we encourage those encountering problems to overcome their difficulties."

However, the Commissioner relented on making 2013 a hard deadline for all EU states, adding that individual extensions until 2015 could be made possible if absolutely necessary.

Separately, the French telecom regulator, Arcep, has granted operators temporary permission to start the testing of "ultra high-speed mobile" (assumed to be LTE) networks using 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum.

This move is being seen as a chance for potential spectrum bidders - the auction is scheduled to complete in the first half of 2011 - to lay the groundwork for these new LTE networks.

Arcep confirmed that the temporary permits - limited to specific locations - were designed to enable would-be spectrum winners to conduct technical trials before the deadline for the submission of applications.

The regulator accepted that it would need to first negotiate with the current holders of the spectrum in question: the French Ministry of Defence for the 2.6GHz band and French Broadcasting Authority for 800MHz spectrum.

It is thought that around 25 trials have been given the go-ahead in the 2.6GHz band, with the first temporary permissions now in place for the 800MHz frequencies.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub req)
- see this Total Telecom article

Related Articles:
2010 Prediction No. 2: LTE is years away
LTE could help European operators boost revenues by 10% or more