European Commission calls for spectrum sharing

04 September 2012 |


The European Commission has announced plans to share the use of radio spectrum as a means of dealing with growing mobile and wireless data traffic, which is expected to increase by 26% annually by 2015.

The organisation called for regulators to support wireless innovation by monitoring and potentially extending the harmonised spectrum bands which don’t require a licence.

It also called for consistent regulatory approaches across the EU for shared rights of use for spectrum, giving incentives and legal certainty to all users of shared spectrum resources.

Among the benefits outlined by the EC for spectrum sharing, were greater mobile network capacity, cheaper wireless broadband and the introduction of new markets such as tradable secondary rights for a spectrum allocation.

"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," said Neelie Kroes, VP of the EC responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe.

The EC argues that technology advances make it possible for several users to share spectrum, or to use the spectrum available between TV frequencies, known as white space. It also asserted that national spectrum regulation does not reflect new technical possibilities, leaving mobile and broadband users at risk of poor service as demand grows.

Support for the plans is now being sought from the European Parliament and Council.