EU frees spectrum for faster mobile services -

EU frees spectrum for faster mobile services

LONDON — The Council of Ministers has followed the European Parliament in approving a proposal from the European Commission to modernise European legislation, the so-called GSM Directive, on the use of the radio spectrum needed for mobile services.

The GSM Directive of 1987 reserves the use of part of the 900MHz spectrum band to GSM (Global System for Mobile or originally Groupe Spécial Mobile) access technologies such as mobile phones.

The updated Directive now allows the 900 MHz frequency band to be used to provide faster, pan-European services such as mobile internet while ensuring the continuation of GSM services.

Industry savings of up to € 1.6 billion are expected from the reform of the GSM Directive which come into force this October.

“This reform will remove constraints on operators so that they can deploy new technologies in the GSM bands to develop high-speed mobile broadband services,” said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding. “This should give a welcome boost to Europe's wireless economy and help trigger the take-off of a Digital Europe.”

In November 2008, the European Commission proposed to share the airwaves allocated to mobile phones with other more advanced technologies, starting with 3G mobile broadband technology (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, UMTS). The proposal was approved by the European Parliament in May.

The updated Directive will be signed by the Presidents of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers in September and then be published in the EU's Official Journal. At the same time, the Commission will adopt a Decision, which will enter into force on the same day as the updated Directive, setting out the technical measures allowing for the co-existence of GSM (2G mobile phones) and UMTS systems (3G phones that add high-speed mobile internet to regular phone services) on GSM frequencies in line with the Directive.

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