Abandoning a 20-year policy, the EU telecoms ministers have given their support to an EC proposal to open frequencies--initially allocated to GSM, to other technologies including 3G.
The 1987 directive, which many claim helped make GSM such a success in Europe, is seen as being out of date as it prevents more advanced wireless technologies from using the reserved spectrum. With this go-ahead, European operators will now be able to use the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands for 3G services, which, claims the GSM Association, would enable significantly more network coverage. This could be as much as 40 percent higher for a base station running at 900MHz than one in the 2,100MHz band.
While the proposal still requires ratification from the European Parliament, the prospect of offering 3G services at lower frequencies could greatly improve coverage and bring mobile broadband to a much wider audience.