The GSMA, the global trade body for the mobile industry, called on governments across Europe to emulate the "Digital Plan" unveiled by the French Government. By allocating part of the digital dividend* spectrum to mobile broadband services, France is well-placed to improve its economic competitiveness by closing the digital divide between those with access to broadband and those without.
"The French government has acted decisively by allocating 72MHz of the spectrum freed up by the switchover to digital television to mobile broadband services, which will reach rural communities that can't be served economically by fixed-line broadband networks," said Tom Phillips, Chief Government & Regulatory Affairs Officer of the GSMA. "Radio signals in this spectrum band travel much further than signals in the higher bands, enabling future mobile broadband networks to reach as far as 2G networks do today. The rest of Europe should follow France's example as soon as possible."
The French Government's decision to initially allocate the 790MHz to 862MHz band for mobile broadband services will further encourage equipment makers to develop handsets and base stations for this frequency band, which the World Radiocommunication Conference has allocated to the provision of mobile broadband services in Europe, Middle East and Asia.
The GSMA calls on other European governments to also commit this spectrum band to mobile broadband services. Harmonisation of spectrum across countries provides manufacturers with the economies of scale necessary to drive down the price of mobile devices and makes it easier for people to continue using their handsets while traveling abroad. The success of GSM is partly due to the harmonized allocation of spectrum by European governments. The Swedish and Finnish governments have already decided to make the 790MHz -862 MHz band available for mobile applications.
*The switchover to digital television will release so-called Ultra High Frequency (UHF) spectrum in the 470MHz to 806/862 MHz band, in which radio waves can travel further and deeper within buildings than is the case in existing mobile spectrum bands. These characteristics would help operators to achieve much broader and more cost-effective mobile broadband coverage, particularly in rural areas.