UN gives mobile firms access to terrestrial TV spectrum

A UN telecoms meeting decided to give mobile service providers access to bandwidth currently reserved for terrestrial television broadcasts, offering the promise of high-speed Internet access on-the-move anywhere in the world by 2015, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the decision will give manufacturers of wireless equipment greater security to develop better and cheaper devices, while service providers can expect significantly lower roll-out costs for new networks.

US officials lobbied hard for a global agreement on spectrum use, arguing that a common approach was better than each country or region deciding to use separate frequencies for next-generation mobile services, the report said.

Countries agreed to the rule after a month of negotiations that boiled down to a battle between old and new media, broadcasters against telecoms companies, for control of a prime stretch of radio spectrum, the report said.

The Associated Press report further said talks at the UN-hosted World Radiocommunications Conference in Geneva finally resulted in a deal, but not without Europe's powerful broadcasting interests winning a major concession that means the amount of bandwidth available for mobile services in their region will be half of what is offered elsewhere.

European broadcasters had warned earlier this week that viewers of digital terrestrial television could see their reception interrupted by nearby cell phones if the two technologies shared the same frequency, the report said.