The GSMA has called on the European Commission (EC) to adopt a flexible approach to the future allocation of UHF spectrum below 700MHz. Last week (16 April 2015), following the conclusion of the Lamy Report public consultation on the future of the UHF spectrum band Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSMA (pictured), offered the following statement.
"The rapid evolution in mobile broadband and broadcast services requires Europe to keep all options open for how the UHF spectrum band will be used. Mobile data is rising rapidly as more people consume increasing amounts of content on mobile devices.
“In the past week alone, two of Europe’s leading broadcasters1 have emphasised the need to transition to an ‘Internet-first’ and ‘mobile-first’ content delivery platform. However, Europe has fallen behind other developed regions in the mobile Internet race, putting the future of mobile and broadcasting as well as the wider economy at risk.
“The UHF band is the single most promising frequency range for extending good value, high-quality mobile broadband across the continent, from urban centres to rural areas. Asia Pacific already has the flexibility to use the band for mobile services and North America is taking steps to put itself in the same position. Europe risks being the only mature mobile and broadcast market without this flexibility.
“The GSMA believes that some free-to-air traditional broadcast delivery will remain essential in the future and should be protected, but it is in the interests of both mobile and broadcast providers that there be greater flexibility in how the UHF spectrum is used in order to meet consumer needs.
“The GSMA is keen to work constructively with the broadcasting industry to develop a solution that will supply long-term guarantees for the future of digital terrestrial TV, while also providing the possibility for part of the sub-700MHz band to be used for mobile services. This will provide peace of mind to European countries that rely on terrestrial broadcast services and ensure a robust future for the region’s mobile and broadcast services.
“Specifically the GSMA recommends that the European Commission consultation:
• Support Member States’ requests for release of the 700MHz band preferably between 2018 and 2020 and potentially earlier;
• Avoid delaying a review of the sub-700MHz band until 2025 as the mobile and broadcast markets are evolving too quickly (it should be no later than 2020);
• Support a co-primary mobile and broadcasting allocation in the sub-700MHz band at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 so Member States have the flexibility to plan how, should they wish, to use the band for both mobile and broadcasting.”