EU to request technical plans for 700MHz band mobile rollout

Commissioner to ask for technical specifications to be drawn up

Europe's digital agenda commissioner has revealed plans to develop the technical conditions for wireless broadband in the 700MHz band.

Speaking to the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) in Brussels on Wednesday, Neelie Kroes said that she will ask the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) to draw up technical specifications for mobile deployments in the 700MHz band to take place.

"Our objective is to reach a political agreement and give regulatory certainty. To consider the need for restructuring sectors, migration and managing broadcasting spectrum," she said.

The CEPT's mandate is for technical work, but Kroes revealed that she also plans to set up a high-level group from industry, dealing with both political and technical aspects of the mobile rollout.

She described the current European situation as "crazy," saying that, on average, national governments have only awarded 65 percent of E.U. harmonized spectrum -- spectrum that is allocated in the same way across all 27 member states -- and many devices, including the latest iPhone, do not work on important E.U. spectrum bands.

She also said that the E.U. member states' recent decision to slash the Connecting Europe Facility budget was a missed opportunity.

The commissioner also wants spectrum holders that are under-utilizing their capacity to share with other licensees, giving new players the chance to enter the market.

The 2012 World Radio Conference decided to have both mobile and broadcasting services co-allocated in the 700MHz band by 2015 and the E.U.'s Radio Spectrum Program envisages at least 1200MHz of spectrum for wireless broadband by 2015.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

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