The GSMA Calls On Europe To Seize The Digital Dividend

Spectrum harmonisation across the EU is vital to ensure affordable handsets

The GSMA, the global body for the mobile industry, has called upon European policy makers to set aside around 25% of the spectrum currently used for analogue television for mobile broadband services1 to enable many more European citizens to gain broadband access. The allocation of a chunk of about 100 MHz of the so-called digital dividend spectrum, harmonised2 across Europe, for mobile broadband services would bring enormous social and economic benefits to rural areas currently not served by fixed broadband connections.

The European Council of Telecoms Ministers is due to discuss the digital dividend today in Luxembourg, while the ITRE committee of the European Parliament will vote on the issue on June 26th. The GSMA believes that Europe needs to act now to avoid falling behind Asia and the U.S., which have identified 100MHz chunks of the digital dividend spectrum for mobile use and have already begun to license that spectrum to mobile operators.

To ensure that Europe maintains a competitive global position in the mobile market, the GSMA calls on European governments to allocate spectrum in the 750MHz to 862MHz band to mobile services. Radio signals travel much further in these frequencies than they do in the higher frequencies already used for 3G mobile broadband services, reducing the cost of providing coverage significantly.

“The switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Europe to efficiently extend access to broadband services right across the continent,” said Tom Phillips, the Chief Government & Regulatory Affairs Officer of the GSMA. “Just one quarter of the spectrum currently used for analogue television would be sufficient to enable operators to provide mobile broadband services to the many rural areas that can’t be reached economically by fixed-line networks. This is a unique win-win situation for broadcasters and mobile operators alike as the enormous efficiency gains provided by the digital dividend will enable new broadcast and new mobile services to be developed.”

1 and other new innovative services
2 Ensure that the same frequencies are used across Europe, much as was done for GSM.

Notes to Editors:
1) At the World Radio Conference in November, governments from Europe, Middle East and Africa agreed to identify the 790MHz to 862MHz band for mobile broadband services.

2) Sharing the digital dividend between both electronic communications and audiovisual industries would add over 25 billion euros more to the French economy between 2012 and 2024 than allocating the digital dividend exclusively to the digital television industry, according to a recent study from telecoms and media consulting firm Analysys and law firm Hogan & Hartson for the French telecoms regulator. For more information please see: here

3) The European economy would receive a financial boost of at least 95 billion euros over the next 20 years if one quarter of the digital dividend spectrum were allocated for mobile broadband services, according to a study by Spectrum Value Partners commissioned by Ericsson, Nokia, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone. For more information please see: here

About the GSMA:

The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade association representing more than 750 GSM mobile phone operators across 218 countries and territories of the world. The Association’s members represent more than 3 billion GSM and 3GSM connections – over 86% of the world’s mobile phone connections. In addition, more than 200 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association’s initiatives as key partners.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers.

For further information contact:
David Pringle

GSM Association