The total turnover of radio spectrum in Europe’s communications market is estimated to have been €240bn to €260bn last year and liberation of this spectrum could yield the communications industry an additional €8bn to €9bn a year, EU commissioner Viviene Reding said.
Presenting a strategy for more flexible radio frequency usage in reaction to evolving market demands, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media Reding said that removing usage restrictions will lead to greater innovation, economic growth and consumer choice.
“Europe must fully exploit the potential use of certain spectrum bands by new wireless products and services so as to encourage market development,” said Reding.
“We seek to provide new opportunities for industry through less restrictive regulatory conditions that strengthen competition and increase consumer choice. However, this is a gradual process which will not happen overnight.”
Radio spectrum is used by a broad cross-section of European industries and existing spectrum regulations are struggling to keep pace with the convergence of mobile, TV and internet services, all of which use wireless communications.
The strategy produced by Reding sets out practical steps for a more flexible approach to spectrum management, starting with the identification of several spectrum bans in which current regulatory restrictions need urgent investigation.
These include opening up the frequency bands formerly reserved for GSM mobile communications such as 3G mobile services and giving new services access to frequencies released by digital broadcasting’s more efficient use of spectrum.
By John Kennedy