GSMA to govts: give us spectrum, beat the financial crisis

The GSM Association has used the looming global recession to call for the issue of more low frequency spectrum to the mobile industry.

In a speech to the association's annual Asian conference, CEO Rob Conway said on Tuesday that governments could stimulate infrastructure investment by allocating harmonized spectrum to mobile phone companies for LTE.

'Governments everywhere should encourage infrastructure spending by the mobile sector,' he said.

In particular, they should make available the 'digital dividend' frequencies - analogue TV spectrum that is soon to be vacated by broadcasters as they go digital. US broadcasters must exit their analog frequencies by February 2009.

Broadcasters had ample spectrum already, while the mobile sector could make far more efficient use of it, Conway said.

He also called on governments to back harmonized spectrum allocations for next-gen mobile standard LTE.

'If governments truly want to encourage network investment in these terrible times then they best make a harmonized part of the digital dividend available for wireless.

'LTE depends on harmonized spectrum and LTE is the future. You can talk about Wimax, you can talk about other others, but these are sideshows to the main event.'

Most 3G networks run in the 1900-2100 MHz band, requiring more base stations than the first and second generation mobile systems which typically operated in the 800 MHz or 900 MHz bands.

'The lower the frequency, the greater the investors' incentive to invest in LTE.' Conway said costs at 700 MHz were seven times lower than at 3.5 GHz.