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UMTS Forum presses for acceleration of EC’s 700 MHz review
Spectrum policy on UHF band must not put Europe behind other regions

09 September 2014: The UMTS Forum has welcomed a new report to the European Commission on future use of the UHF spectrum band (470-790 MHz).

Responding to the newly-published ‘Results on the Work of the High Level Group on the Future Use of the UHF Band (470-790 MHz)’, UMTS Forum Chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaimé congratulates the report’s author, Pascal Lamy, for highlighting the importance of the 700 MHz band (694-790 MHz) to meet projected growth in high-data rate mobile broadband services.

However, the UMTS Forum warns that the timing for the repurpose of the band – currently used by broadcasters – for mobile should not extend beyond 2020.

700 MHz band
UMTS Forum warmly welcomes the call for the 700MHz band to be released in Europe for mobile broadband. “It’s encouraging to see this report underline the importance precious 700 MHz frequencies for mobile broadband”, says Bienaimé. “But it is important to allow countries to move sooner rather than later, and in any case no later than 2020.”

Mobile allocation in 470-694 MHz at WRC-15

The UMTS Forum also questions the recommendation by the report to freeze allocation of the 470-694 MHz band until 2030, and to prevent countries from adopting the solution that’s most appropriate for their national needs. In other world regions, countries are already free to choose whether to deploy broadcast or mobile technologies in the band .

Support for the ‘flexibility option’

A number of high-level technical initiatives in Europe have already identified various long-term scenarios for use of the 470-694 MHz band, including one where broadcast and broadband services can safely co-exist with significant benefits for consumers. The report to the European Commission endorses such a scenario through its proposal to adopt a ‘flexibility option’, giving European countries greater freedom about which technologies to deploy in the 470-694 MHz band. “This is not the full flexibility that a mobile allocation would provide”, notes Bienaimé, “but it would help tremendously to bring to each country the services its citizens want, instead of imposing a ‘one size fits all’ approach.”

In advance of next year’s WRC-15 meeting in Geneva, the UMTS Forum advocates the timely implementation of the 700 MHz band for mobile use, and by 2020 at the very latest. Furthermore, the Forum calls for a positive decision on co-primary allocation of the band 470-694 MHz for mobile services in ITU Regions 1 and 2 at WRC-15 and supports the ‘flexibility option’ proposed by the report.  

“By supporting mobile allocation of these frequencies, European administrations have a realistic opportunity to regain international leadership in these critical bands”, concludes Bienaimé.

Read more about the UMTS Forum at WRC-15 >

Mobile broadband is changing the way the world communicates. The UMTS Forum helps all players in this dynamic value chain understand and profit from the opportunities of 3G/4G LTE networks and their evolutions.

The UMTS Forum participates actively in the work of the ITU, EC, 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:

Chris Solbé
UMTS Forum Press Office
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