GSM, WiMAX compete for spectrum in Europe

The GSM Association urged the European Commission to not lift current restrictions that tied specific technologies to individual spectrum bands, taking sides in a battle that pitted the cellular industry against the WiMAX market, an InfoWorld Daily report said.

The report said the Commission, in late June, again discussed its proposal of a new policy, which stated that operators that won spectrum could build networks using any technology they chose.

It was a controversial subject because a similar policy had enabled innovation in the US, but the existing policy, which limited spectrum users to specific technologies, had historically led to success in Europe, the report said.

According to the report, the GSM Association was particularly concerned about how the new policy could affect the 2.5GHz band in Europe. That spectrum had been designated in most European countries as a 3G extension band, initially designed to enable more 3G services.

A policy change would create market fragmentation and would drive up the price of equipment because vendors would not be able to standardize their products on the same spectrum around the globe, the GSM Association said.

The 2.5GHz band should be reserved for 3G operators to ensure that new services, like mobile video, could realize their full potential, the group added.

However, similar spectrum was being used in the US for other broadband wireless services like WiMAX. The WiMAX industry had been lobbying to be able to use that band in Europe for similar types of networks, the report said.