WRC Takes Important Step Towards Closing the Digital Divide

The consensus achieved by the International Telecommunication Union at the World Radiocommunication Conference in Geneva is an important step towards closing the digital divide between those with access to broadband and those without, according to the GSMA, the global trade association for mobile operators. The conference has agreed to identify a chunk of UHF* spectrum for mobile broadband services, and a chunk of spectrum in the higher frequency bands to create the capacity required for the next generation of advanced mobile services.

A proposal led by African Governments to identify 72MHz** of UHF spectrum for the provision of mobile broadband services in developing countries and rural areas of the developed world was adopted by Europe, Middle East and Asia. The Americas identified 108MHz of UHF spectrum for this purpose and China, India and Japan are among the countries that have agreed to harmonise their spectrum with the Americas. Harmonisation of spectrum across countries provides manufacturers with the economies of scale necessary to drive down the price of mobile devices.

“This decision by the WRC is an important step towards enabling hundreds of millions of people in the developing world and rural parts of the developed world to gain affordable access to broadband services,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Government & Regulatory Affairs Officer of the GSMA. “Radio signals in the UHF spectrum will travel further than signals in the higher bands, enabling future mobile broadband networks to reach as far as 2G networks do today.”

The GSMA also welcomes the WRC’s decision to identify 200MHz of contiguous spectrum in the 3.4-3.6GHz range available for high-capacity, next-generation mobile networks.

“This Conference has taken an important opportunity to shape the spectrum landscape for the next decade of mobile telecommunications services, giving both operators and their suppliers a valuable roadmap for future investments,” added Mr. Phillips.

Visit the GSMA 2007 WRC microsite

Notes to Editors
*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.

**790 to 862 MHz

About the GSMA:
The GSMA (The GSM Association) is the global trade association representing more than 700 GSM mobile phone operators across 218 countries and territories of the world. 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. The Association’s members serve more than 2.5 billion customers – 85% of the world’s mobile phone users.

For more information please contact:
For the GSM Association:
Mark Smith or David Pringle
Email: press@gsm.org