EU outlines mobile spectrum sharing plans


The European Union has called for a coordinated approach to sharing mobile spectrum to boast network capacity and reduce wireless broadband costs.

Neelie Kroes, European digital agenda commissioner warned member states that regulatory bodies need to make best use of spectrum as this was "economic oxygen".

The EU laid out a set of proposals that will formalise spectrum sharing within its borders.

"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," said Kroes.

"That is unacceptable. We must maximise this scarce resource by re-using it and creating a single market out of it."

She added that Europe needs a single market for spectrum in order to "regain global industrial leadership in mobile and data, to attract more R&D investments."

While the proposal doesn't go into specifics, it outlined some existing services that are heading in the right direction alongside the problems mobile operators face.

The European Commission (EC) called on national regulators to monitor and potentially extend spectrum bands exempt from licences.

It also wants to a consistent approach across the EU to encourage spectrum sharing and provide "legal certainty to all users (current and new) who can share valuable spectrum resources."

The commission cited internet service providers as an example of how a number of users could share the same spectrum with "new technologies".

"National spectrum regulation often does not reflect the new technical possibilities, leaving mobile and broadband users at risk of poor service as demand grows," according to an EC statement.

"A coordinated 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," it added.

On her blog, Kroes said the new proposal "is an essential part of the solution to dealing with the wireless crunch without interfering with existing rights or downgrading quality of service."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.