EU wants more spectrum for mobile firms by 2013

BRUSSELS Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:12pm IST

A bishop takes a photograph of Pope Benedict XVI with a mobile phone in the Chapel at Oscott College seminary in Birmingham, central England  September 19, 2010. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Pool

A bishop takes a photograph of Pope Benedict XVI with a mobile phone in the Chapel at Oscott College seminary in Birmingham, central England September 19, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Simon Dawson/Pool

Related Topics

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU countries should free up broadband spectrum to mobile operators by 2013 to spur consumer demand, the European Commission said on Monday, in its latest effort to boost cross-border trade and create jobs.

The European Union executive also stressed the need for billions of euros of investment in high-speed broadband networks as it urged EU governments to set out concrete measures to encourage public and private spending and competition.

"Fast broadband is digital oxygen, essential for Europe's prosperity and well-being," Neelie Kroes, the European commissioner for the digital agenda, said.

The Commission said it would seek approval from the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for a Jan. 1, 2013 deadline for EU's 27 member states to open up the 800 MHz spectrum, which is currently used by broadcasters.

Exceptions would be allowed until 2015 only in exceptional cases.

ECTA, the European Competitive Telecommunication Association, whose members include Vodafone, Bouygues Telecom, Cable & Wireless, BT and AT&T, welcomed the proposal.

"We are particularly pleased that the Commission has made proposals to ensure that spectrum is allocated in a way that promotes competition," said ECTA director Ilsa Godlovitch.

"We hope this will prevent situations where spectrum becomes concentrated in the hands of those with the deepest pockets, reinforcing the position of the largest firms," she said.


The STOXX Europe 600 telecoms index was up 0.5 percent in mid-session.

Germany, the only EU country so far to make the broadcast spectrum available for mobile broadband, held its largest airwaves auction in May, with Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone acquiring many of the new radio frequencies.

Mobile operators need more spectrum to handle increasing amounts of data traffic from mobile devices.

On access to fast-fibre networks, the Commission said it would not tolerate regulatory holidays -- when governments allow operators to block access to networks -- for dominant firms.

"It is essential to establish a fair market for all participants, no matter what the underlying infrastructure or technology," it said.

The next step is for national regulators to implement the Commission's proposals, said the ECTA's Godlovitch.

"This is just the beginning of the story. The price consumers pay for high-speed broadband and whether they have a choice of provider will depend on how the wholesale fibre price is set by national regulators," she said.

The Commission said it would new unveil broadband finance instruments next spring together with the European Investment Bank. The EIB lends an average of 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) annually for broadband projects.

The Commission said investment of between 180 billion euros and 270 billion was needed if broadband services were to be available in every EU household by 2020.

(Editing by David Holmes)

($1 = 0.7641 euro)

(For more news visit Reuters India)



Lakhvi's Bail

Lakhvi's Bail

Pakistan court bails man accused of masterminding Mumbai attack.  Full Article 

PM's Moves

PM's Moves

Modi moves in to speed up $300 billion stuck projects.  Full Article 

Coal Unions

Coal Unions

Coal India workers threaten five-day strike, stokes output worries.  Full Article 

Space Programme

Space Programme

ISRO tests its heaviest space launch vehicle, eyes global market.  Full Article 

Peshawar attack

Peshawar Attack

Some Pakistan militants denounce school attack, amid national outrage.  Full Article 

Uber Again

Uber Again

Uber driver in Boston charged with kidnapping and rape.  Full Article 



Dealers offer gold discount for first time in five months.  Full Article 

"PK" in Cinemas

"PK" in Cinemas

Secret of year's "biggest" Bollywood film is its plot.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage