|UMTS Forum urges EU to fast-track adoption of new GSM Directive|
More delays in the adoption of amended GSM Directive and deployment
of UMTS 900 will harm Europe’s telecoms industry and slow economic
The UMTS Forum has warned that additional delays in adoption of the amended GSM Directive will slow economic regeneration in Europe.
There is general consensus between the European Parliament, Member States, the EC and the mobile industry that the current GSM Directive seriously impairs the ability of telecommunication operators to offer innovative mobile broadband services.
As a key component of its new Telecoms package, the EU has now reached agreement on a new Directive that will help European operators offer cost-effective mobile broadband services to a fast-growing, geographically dispersed subscriber base.
For the first time, the amended Directive permits the use of frequencies in the 900 MHz band for 3G/UMTS services in all Member States. This relaxation of licensing conditions reduces the costs of rolling out mobile broadband, especially to rural areas and communities where deployment at higher frequencies is more expensive. In turn, this stimulus for additional investment will spur economic activity while helping to create additional jobs across the European zone.
“The new GSM Directive is a critical component of the EU’s goal to achieve 100% high speed Internet coverage for all European citizens by 2010, as part of the European Economic Recovery Plan”, comments UMTS Forum Chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaimé.
“However, political disagreement over the New Regulatory Framework is now holding the GSM industry hostage on what is essentially an entirely separate political debate. Delay in adopting the new Directive will significantly harm our industry, stifling the unique opportunity that UMTS900 offers for Europe’s economic regeneration and recovery”, adds Bienaimé.
“The European citizens, the European telecommunication industry and the European economy need the amended GSM directive to be adopted as soon as possible”, states Guillaume Lebrun, Chairman of the UMTS Forum Spectrum Aspects Group.
UMTS 900: delivering the benefits for Europe
On 27 March, the Committee of the Permanent Representatives (COREPER) agreed on the amended GSM Directive. The European Parliament voted on 06 May on the amended GSM Directive as agreed on by the COREPER, without any further amendments. The Council is now due to agree on the amended GSM Directive to finalise the approval process.
Mobile broadband access has been recognized as key factor for economic national competitiveness and reduction of the digital divide between urban and rural areas in Europe. UMTS in the 900 MHz band (UMTS900) provides the opportunity to expand 3G mobile broadband into smaller towns, villages and rural areas in an economically efficient manner. UMTS900 also improves indoor coverage in all areas, including cities. Having 3G mobile broadband operators with nationwide and improved indoor coverage further enhances competitiveness and broadband development of European countries.
More than 120 UMTS900 enabled handsets already available from a number of manufacturers and infrastructure equipment rolled out in at least 7 countries on a global basis. CEPT has undertaken detailed technical studies that demonstrate the compatible operation of UMTS with GSM in the 900 MHz band.
Some European Member States – including Estonia and Finland – have already started UMTS900 operations, while France and other countries have allowed deployment of UMTS in the 900 MHz band under the regulation of the current GSM Directive. However, other countries are still awaiting new and clear measures by policy makers with regard to UMTS900.
The UMTS Forum’s letter to the EC and European Parliament stressed the importance of a coherent framework across all Member States to reduce regulatory uncertainties regarding mobile broadband deployment.
The UMTS Forum participates actively in the work of the ITU, ETSI, 3GPP and CEPT as well as other technical and commercial organisations globally. It also contributes to the timely licensing and deployment of mobile broadband globally through regular dialogue with regulators and responses to public consultations.
The UMTS Forum supports the interests of its membership with a range of studies, reports and other outputs. Principal focus areas include markets trends, mobile broadband services and applications, key growth markets, spectrum & regulation, technology & implementation. A strong promotional voice is maintained via a high-profile presence at conferences, seminars and workshops as well as regular briefings to the media, analysts and other stakeholders.
Membership of the UMTS Forum draws together everyone with an interest in mobile broadband, including network operators, regulators and the manufacturers of network infrastructure and terminal equipment.
For more information: