EU network operators say bandwidth-hungry services should not compete for spectrum

European telco operators group calls for more spectrum harmonization in the EU

Europe's telecom network operators on Tuesday said that bandwidth-hungry services like UHDTV (ultra high definition television) and 3DTV should be distributed via cable or satellite instead of competing with other services for spectrum.

The uptake of mobile wireless broadband services in the European Union shows no sign of abating, and the European Commission therefore asked interested parties for their advice in addressing the growing demand for more wireless broadband spectrum.

Responding to the Commission's Radio Spectrum Policy Group consultation, the European Telecommunications Network Operators' association (ETNO) said that the use of frequency bands for wireless broadband applications should be harmonized at European and preferably worldwide levels.

"It is very important to define a channel plan for the 700MHz band compatible with the plan identified in Asia and already adopted by many Central and South American countries, and so be able to harmonize it with possible extensions downwards," said Massimiliano Simoni, Chair of ETNO Spectrum Issues Working Group.

However at the Mobile World Congress in February, Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said that untangling the E.U.'s 27 different national approaches to mobile spectrum was in itself a difficult task. She described Europe's poor efforts to release broadband spectrum as "a bowl of spaghetti."

Currently national governments have only awarded on average 65 percent of E.U. harmonized spectrum. Therefore Kroes has asked the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) to draw up technical specifications before mobile deployments in the 700MHz band take place.

The 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference decided to have both mobile and broadcasting services co-allocated in the 700MHz band by 2015. The development of "a long-term strategic policy on future convergence" would not delay this work said Simoni.

The next World Radiocommunication Conference will be in Geneva in November 2015.

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

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