Reserve 800MHz for LTE and WiMAX, states EU commissioner

The fast growing demand for wireless internet services has prompted the EU to adopt a decision aimed at harmonising the allocation of 800MHz spectrum across Europe.

Users of the 790-862MHz spectrum, mainly analogue TV broadcasters, are currently being moved to other bands as they move to digital transmission, and the EU believes that co-ordinated management of this spectrum could result in an increase of up to €44 billion in the EU's economy.

The EU's Digital Agenda Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, said that this decision paved the way for implementation of innovative broadband technologies, such as LTE and WiMAX, and for the fast growing demand for wireless services to be met.

The EU claims that infrastructure equipment for the 800MHz band was expected to be 70 per cent cheaper than that required for the radio frequencies in use on 3G networks. Also, this new spectrum should provide operators with improved coverage and in-building penetration in comparison with most current 3G bands.

However, wireless infrastructure vendors has raised questions as to the level of interference testing that has been conducted by the EU with regard to LTE operating in this band.

In Germany and in the Netherlands, analysts have expressed concerns that allocating spectrum to too many cellular operators would cause more interference on TVs and radios. "We are expecting massive interference on television and other receivers," said Uwe Bärmann, CTO of Germany's third largest cable operator, Kabel BW.

Tests conducted in the Netherlands indicated there was a 90 per cent chance of interference when an LTE handset was used at a distance of one metre from a television set.

For more on this story:

Related stories:
Vodafone Germany tests LTE in digital dividend spectrum
German Digital Dividend auction faces threat of EU legal action
Ericsson highlights LTE advantages, as WiMAX wobbles
Report: Spectrum shortage looms in 2013 thanks to mobile broadband