Farsighted Broadband Policy wins France GSMA Government Leadership Award
16 February 2009, Barcelona, Spain
The GSMA, representing the global mobile industry, has awarded its prestigious annual Government Leadership Award to France, which has taken several key policy decisions that will ensure the vast majority of its people will be able to benefit from cost-effective, high-performance Mobile Broadband services.
During 2008 the French government committed to allocate to mobile services part of the prime digital dividend spectrum being freed up by the replacement of analogue television with digital TV. In parallel, it also authorised mobile operators to offer broadband services in the 900MHz frequency band, which is currently used for second generation mobile services. Both these new assignments are at relatively low frequencies, where radio waves travel long distances and penetrate the walls of buildings and other obstacles easily, for the first time making it cost-effective to provide Mobile Broadband coverage across much of France.
'This award recognises both the leadership of the French government in implementing a clear spectrum policy that will lead to ubiquitous Mobile Broadband services and the influence this policy is having on other European governments,' said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board of the GSMA. 'France is creating the conditions that will enable the mobile industry to invest in the broadband networks that will deliver the productivity improvements and economic growth necessary to help pull the world through these tough times.'
'The story of GSM shows that, when Europe gathers the strength and the talent of its digital and telecom industries, it can lead the world,' said Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, France's Secretary of State in charge of Strategic Planning and the Development of the Digital Economy. 'The allocation of a part of the digital dividend spectrum to broadband mobile services gives us today an opportunity to launch a great industrial project, dedicated to European citizens. By harmonising European rules on digital dividend allocation, we will allow the vast majority of citizens to access these new services, while reinforcing development opportunities for the digital economy'
Crucially, the Digital France 2012 plan allocates new spectrum to Mobile Broadband services in keeping with the recommendations of the ITU's World Radiocommunication Conference of 2007. Those recommendations are designed to ensure that as many countries as possible use the same spectrum bands for mobile services, enabling the same Mobile Broadband devices to be used in many different countries and equipment manufacturers to gain economies of scale, lowering prices for end users.
As well as being one of the first European governments to allocate digital dividend spectrum to mobile services and authorise re-farming, France is also moving to license the so-called 3G Extension band (2600MHz), which will significantly increase the capacity available for Mobile Broadband services in urban areas and other hotspots.
Finally, France has adopted a number of innovative policies designed to increase mobile usage by rural communities, low-income groups and the disabled, while also creating a favourable regulatory environment for the rollout of services that will enable the French to use their mobile phones to pay for goods and services at point of sale in retail outlets, restaurants, train stations and elsewhere.
Notes to editors
The digital dividend refers to the spectrum that will be freed up by the replacement of analogue broadcasting technology with much more efficient digital television.
Re-farming refers to using spectrum originally allocated for second generation mobile services for third generation mobile broadband services
The ITU, part of the United Nations, has recommended that national governments allocate spectrum in the 2600 MHZ band to 3G mobile services. This band is known as the 3G Extension Band.
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry. Spanning 219 countries, the GSMA unites more than 750 of the world's mobile operators, as well as 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organizations. The GSMA is focused on innovating, incubating and creating new opportunities for its membership, all with the end goal of driving the growth of the mobile communications industry. For more information, please visit http://www.gsmworld.com
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