The European Commission is to release a swathe of radio spectrum in order to give mobile and internet companies more space for rolling out faster fourth-generation (4G) wireless services.
The announcement, made yesterday, will mean an extra 120 MHz of spectrum and will be available for 4G from 2014. The spectrum will try to accommodate a sharp rise in the use of 4G services on mobile devices.
The radio spectrum, now used by all wireless technologies for sending and receiving information, has increasingly become crowded as mobile users’ demands adds to TV and radio broadcasting. 4G technology is also a resource needed by emergency services and military telecommunications.
The global mobile data traffic is currently estimated at 26 per cent growth annually by 2015, according to industry experts. Leading networking firm, Cisco Systems, put mobile data traffic volumes at an estimated 90 per cent increase each year inside the European Union, a growth they predict to continue over the next five years.
4G’s mobile communication capacity allows for the use of data-heavy services such as video conferencing, now common in many modern business settings. Neelie Kroes, the European Union Commisoner, has stated: "This extra spectrum for 4G in Europe means we can better meet the changing and growing demand for broadband.
Wireless services are fastest in the countries of Japan and the United States. The freeing up of additional spectrum will help the EU address this foreign competition.
In an official statement from the EU Commission they said: "The EU will enjoy up to twice the amount of spectrum for high speed wireless broadband as in the United States".
The liberalised companies, which sprang up in the 1990s and own parts of the radio wave spectrum, consider this a valuable asset and many are reluctant to share. Since September the Commission has been pushing telecoms firms to share the radio frequencies they use for mobile and broadband services as space runs out.