Europe Moves Ahead With Mobile Broadband GSM Update


The 900MHz spectrum – designated for GSM – has been cleared for high-speed 3G broadband use

The European Council of Ministers has approved an ongoing plan to update legislation governing the use of radio spectrum for GSM mobile networks.

In a statement released this week, the Council of Ministers announced that it was following steps already taken by the European Parliament and the European Commission to update the so-called GSM Directive which governs how spectrum is used for mobille broadband.

According to the European authorities, the GSM Directive of 1987 reserved the use of part of the 900MHz spectrum band to GSM for mobile phones. The directive has now been updated to allow the same spectrum to be used for mobile broadband and internet.

“The GSM standard has been a success story for Europe, where it was born. By updating the GSM Directive, the EU has paved the way for a new generation of services and technologies where Europe can be a world leader,” said EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding. “This reform will remove constraints on operators so that they can deploy new technologies in the GSM bands to develop high-speed mobile broadband services. This should give a welcome boost to Europe’s wireless economy and help trigger the take-off of a Digital Europe.”

Savings of up to €1.6 billion are expected from the reform of the GSM Directive, say EU law-makers with the renewed Directive set to enter into force this October. “The reformed GSM Directive is the first of several important Directives in the telecoms sector being negotiated where the agreement of Parliament and Council now paves the way for a stronger wireless economy,” the EC states.

In a move earlier this month, the EC said European countries must work together to coordinate approaches on how best to allocate spectrum made available by the switch-over to digital TV, the resulting broadband services may not achieve their full potential and could even be unavailable in some member states.

Described by the European Commission as a “digital dividend”, the newly available spectrum can be used to transmit data over long distances and across borders. To ensure that the spectrum is used in the right way, the EC has launched a consultation between member countries to ensure effective communication over how to develop the technology.