The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have agreed on how to coordinate the use of the 700 MHz band to bring mobile internet services to all Europeans and new applications across borders, thus facilitating the introduction of 5G as of 2020.
This agreement builds on a proposal presented by the Commission in February 2016. The Council reached its common position on May 26, and the Parliament (ITRE Committee) – on November10. Both institutions are expected to formally endorse the agreement in the coming weeks.
The ultra-high frequency (UHF) band comprises the range 470-790 MHz and is currently used for digital terrestrial television and for wireless microphones for programme making and special events.
The agreement will provide more spectrum for wireless broadband in the 700 MHz band by June 30, 2020. This band is ideal for providing high-quality internet to users whether they are indoors in a large city, in a small distant village or on a highway.
Frequencies in the sub-700 MHz band will remain available, as a priority, for broadcasting, mainly used for free-to-view public broadcasting. However, the latter band could be flexibly used for other technologies or services in support of 5G innovation and in accordance with national broadcasting needs.
“Better spectrum coordination is vital to provide higher quality internet to all Europeans. It paves the way for 5G, the next generation of communication networks, and the internet of things. We made a first step today with a joint approach to use the 700 MHz band in the EU,” commented Andrus Ansip, VP for the Digital Single Market.
“We should go further and this is one of the main objectives of our new Electronic Communications Code and 5G action plan presented earlier this year. We should progress as swiftly on these initiatives which are essential to have first-class connectivity in the Digital Single Market. We struck a first agreement today, we should reach many more as soon as possible”. (recent blog post on Connectivity, radio spectrum and the Digital Single Market: preparing for the future).
“A coordinated strategy for the whole UHF band asserts our European vision,” said Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society.
“It ensures that Europeans can access innovative services and creative content on the move from their tablets and smartphones, as well as on smart TV sets at home. The coordinated release of the 700 MHz band is major leap forward on the Union’s path to 5G”.