European Parliament Decision Makes 700 MHz Available for Broadband
Friday, March 17, 2017 | Comments

The European Parliament approved a final deal to free the 700 MHz spectrum band for mobile broadband. The TETRA + Critical Communications Association (TCCA) said the decision means that there are no regulatory barriers to prevent member states to start preparing for the implementation of mobile broadband services for mission-critical communication applications.

The core of the decision is that the 700 MHz band will be allocated for mobile broadband in 2020, while those member states that for certain technical or financial reasons need to delay, will be able to do so until 2022. Member states shall ensure the availability for broadcasting services in the sub-700 MHz band until 2030, and they may also compensate direct costs for end users, caused by migration or the reallocation of spectrum use.

“This is a step that will secure European competitiveness and enable us to reap the full benefits of the next-generation 5G mobile technology,” said spokesman Gunnar Hökmark.

With connection speeds above 10 Gigabits per second and latency below 5 milliseconds, 5G will enable an industrial transformation, connecting millions of devices simultaneously and supporting completely new types of applications connecting devices and objects, a statement said.

The 700 MHz band is currently used for television broadcasting and wireless microphones. Coordinating the release of the frequency band in all member states is crucial to allow innovative mobile services, such as remote healthcare, smart cities and connected cars, to work across the European Union.

”We already see China, the U.S., South Korea and Japan taking steps towards rolling out commercial 5G starting as early as 2018.” Hökmark said. “Europe needs to be at the forefront of this development, and this agreement marks the first step. What is more, this decision shows that member states and the European Parliament recognize that spectrum coordination is a must if we are to keep up with digital development and prepare our markets for 5G.”

TCCA said all provisions, technical as well as legal, are now in place for the gradual implementation of a pan-European mission-critical mobile broadband network, according to member states’ national circumstances. In 2016 the binding technical provisions were published to establish harmonized technical conditions in the 700 MHz band for public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) mobile broadband services.

“Harmonized frequency across the EU can only be a good thing; however, we continue to lobby governments to reserve dedicated spectrum within the 700 MHz band to prevent mission-critical services having to compete with consumer services for bandwidth,” said Phil Kidner, TCCA CEO. “France is currently the only member state that has allocated dedicated spectrum for PPDR in the 700 MHz band. We are following closely the progress of the Swedish PPDR stakeholders’ recommendation to hold one of the three 700 MHz allocations as a national asset for a future nationwide mission-critical mobile broadband network. There are also positive developments in Norway, where a report to the national regulator clearly recommends taking the needs of PPDR onboard in the licensing conditions.”

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