Digital Agenda: Commission Decision paves the way for 4G in Europe

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The European Commission has today decided to add another 120 MHz to the radio spectrum portfolio for 4G technologies, such as LTE (Long Term Evolution), around the 2 GHz band. This band is currently solely used for UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) wireless communications, known as 3G networks. The Decision makes it mandatory for Member States to open the relevant spectrum by 30 June 2014 at the latest, and lays down harmonised technical conditions to allow coexistence between different technologies. On this basis the EU will enjoy up to twice the amount of spectrum for high speed wireless broadband as in the United States, namely around 1000 MHz.

The Commission’s decision means mobile operators will have more opportunities to invest in improved mobile networks, which benefits the whole economy, and consumers will, over time, enjoy faster data transfers and more broadband services. Greater access to spectrum for 4G technologies will make a substantial contribution to the Digital Agenda broadband target of universal EU broadband coverage of at least 30 Mb/s by 2020.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: “This extra spectrum for 4G in Europe means we can better meet the changing and growing demand for broadband. I want to see Member States acting swiftly to change existing licenses. We all win from faster wireless connections in Europe.”

The Decision enforces the harmonised liberalisation of the 2 GHz band (1920-1980 MHz paired with 2110-2170 MHz) in all Member States, avoiding internal market fragmentation in the future use of this band.

Introducing flexibility of use in spectrum bands by removing technology restrictions offers a cost-effective way for deploying advanced wireless infrastructure in response to market demand. Here to read more.

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