MWC - UMTS Forum calls for spectrum harmonisation

THe UMTS Forum wants spectrum freed up by the analogue TV switch-off for mobile services 

“Prompt harmonisation across Europe of UHF spectrum for IMT-2000 mobile broadband services will benefit our industry while ensuring the most cost-efficient use of this valuable spectrum,” Jean-Pierre Bienaimé, chairman of the UMTS Forum. “We’ve already seen how harmonisation pays dividends for mobile operators through operational efficiencies and economies of scale,” he added. “This will translate into lower network costs, simplified roaming, cheaper devices and ultimately lower tariffs for consumers.”

The prospect of a digital dividend emerges from the radio spectrum that will be released by the switch from analogue TV broadcasting to more spectrally-efficient digital transmission, which will release a significant dividend in frequencies in the UHF band. This can be used for non-broadcast applications, notably using UMTS/HSPA mobile broadband networks and their evolution to LTE.

The European Commission has already urged Member States to agree on a co-ordinated approach to use of the digital dividend. France, Sweden, Switzerland, and Finland appear to have already agreed to use 72MHz of spectrum between 790 and 862MHz for mobile services.UK regulator Ofcom has recently announced proposals to make the same band available for mobile broadband.

“The band 790 to 862MHz offers many attractions to mobile operators”, noted Bienaimé. “Its propagation characteristics make it an ideal choice for offering wide-area mobile coverage with good indoor penetration. As European administrations accelerate their switchover plans, now’s the time to give operators across the region fair access to these frequencies to augment their existing spectrum allocations.”

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