GSMA: CEPT has work to do in terms of mobile broadband spectrum

The GSMA's deputy chief regulatory officer said the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) must do more to ensure adequate spectrum is available to meet growing consumer demand for mobile broadband access.

John Giusti said CEPT had taken a positive step by identifying additional spectrum that could be utilised for wireless data services at a recent meeting in Bergen, Norway. However, the GSMA believes CEPT must do more to ensure European countries have flexibility to utilise spectrum in alternative bands to match consumer demand, he added.

Giusti was referring to CEPT's identification of L-band spectrum between 1427 MHz and 1518 MHz as a potential means of offering mobile broadband services. The CEPT is due to recommend use of this spectrum at the forthcoming World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) in November.

"Europe has shown strong leadership for this band, which has made it highly likely that this band will have widespread support at WRC-15," Giusti said, noting that global harmonisation of L-band "will drive economies of scale that will benefit consumers around the world."

However, Giusti said the GSMA was disappointed by a separate CEPT decision "to oppose any use of the 2.7-2.9 GHz band for mobile broadband," noting that such spectrum "is only lightly used in most countries in Europe and around the world and would be an attractive capacity band to help tackle the growing need for high bandwidth mobile data."

The GSMA deputy chief regulatory officer also commented on spectrum decisions taken at a European Commission (EC) level.

While on the one hand the GSMA "welcomes the lead taken by Europe in promoting the use of a significant amount of C-band spectrum, from 3.4-3.8 GHz, for mobile broadband," the association is keen to see the EC "take a more flexible approach regarding use of UHF spectrum below 700 MHz" to meet growing consumption of mobile multimedia content.

Giusti said that the GSMA accepted that "some free-to-air traditional broadcast delivery will remain essential" on UHF, but also believes "there should be flexibility in how UHF spectrum is used in order to maximise the benefit of this spectrum for the citizens of Europe."

Not enabling such flexibility means that "Europe runs the risk to [sic] fall behind other regions in the mobile internet race," Giusti explained.

Andrus Ansip, the EC's vice president for the Digital Single Market, recently told FierceWireless:Europe that spectrum fragmentation must be addressed in order to promote consistent regulations covering the region's mobile markets. The commissioner said spectrum is vital for connectivity, and predicted the value of spectrum enabled services will grow from €500 billion ($564 billion) today to "approximately €1 trillion by 2023."

For more:
- see this GSMA statement

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