The European Commission unveiled on September 3 2012 plans to deal with the exponential growth in mobile and wireless data traffic by enabling wireless technologies, including broadband, to share the use of the radio spectrum.
With new technologies it is possible to share radio spectrum amongst several users – such as internet providers – or use the spectrum available between TV frequencies, for example, for other purposes, the Commission said.
National spectrum regulation often does not reflect the new technical possibilities, leaving mobile and broadband users at risk of poor service as demand grows, and preventing a single market for investment in such communications markets.
A co-ordinated European approach to sharing spectrum will lead to greater mobile network capacity, cheaper wireless broadband, and new markets such as tradable secondary rights for a given spectrum allocation, according to the Commission.
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe said: “Radio spectrum is economic oxygen, it is used by every single person and business. If we run out of spectrum then mobile networks and broadband won’t work. That is unacceptable, we must maximise this scarce resource by re-using it and creating a single market out of it. We need a single market for spectrum in order to regain global industrial leadership in mobile and data, to attract more R&D investments.”
The Commission is calling for, as first steps, Regulators to support wireless innovation by monitoring and potentially extending the harmonised internal market bands in which no licence is required (so-called licence-exempt bands) through appropriate measures under 2002 Radio Spectrum Decision, and for fostering consistent regulatory approaches across the EU for shared rights of use that give incentives and legal certainty to all users (current and new) who can share valuable spectrum resources.