The mobile communications revolution is under threat.

The amount of spectrum that mobile operators are permitted to use by national governments is being rapidly exhausted by growing demand for bandwidth-hungry services. According to Cisco, global mobile traffic will increase nearly eleven fold between 2014 and 2018. Unless more spectrum is made available, mobile services will struggle to cope.

Spectrum directly impacts the speed, capacity and reach of mobile broadband services. Unless governments choose to grant operators access to more, the result will be slower, more expensive mobile connections at a time when we should be striving to deliver ubiquitous, high-speed, low-cost access.

The impact of this will be profound. Mobile technology doesn’t just keep people connected, informed and entertained – it is transforming business and society. From healthcare to education, commerce to utilities, the power of mobile is making our economy smarter, more consumer-friendly and more productive.

How much spectrum is needed?

GSMA research shows around 600-800MHz of additional spectrum will be needed for mobile use by 2020. Given that it takes around ten years from the time new spectrum is allocated to regulators issuing licenses and operators launching services, it is essential that governments act now.

Role of the ITU

Typically, before governments will assign more spectrum to operators, it must first be allocated for mobile use in the global ‘radio regulations’ that are maintained by the ITU. This global approach is essential in order to lower the cost of mobile devices, enable roaming and minimise interference.

These regulations are reviewed at the ITU’s World Radiocommunication Conference which takes place every three to four years.

The most recent Conference took place in November 2015 – you can find out about the outcome for mobile services here.

How can I get involved?

The GSMA coordinates a multi-industry campaign to highlight to national governments and regional regulatory bodies the importance of securing more mobile spectrum. To find out more please contact us on



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