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Managing Spectrum

The GSMA’s mission is to ensure spectrum is managed in a fair, transparent and predictable way with minimal delay to maximise the benefits for all.

Mobile networks are the fastest and most affordable way of connecting people to voice and data services all over the world. Effective spectrum management is critical to support the investment required to further expand mobile access. It is needed to meet the rapid increase in demand particularly for data services and enhance the quality and coverage of services offered.

The basic tenants of a successful spectrum management strategy are ensuring access to sufficient spectrum, providing predictability and avoiding costly restrictions.

When it comes to awarding spectrum, there is no single best approach. Whether an auction or another method (such as administrative assignment) is adopted, the implementation of the approach is important.

The primary goal in all spectrum awards should be to encourage efficient spectrum use and the significant investment necessary to provide high quality mobile services. High spectrum prices are associated with more expensive, lower quality mobile broadband services and irrecoverable losses in consumer welfare worth billions of dollars worldwide. 11

Research also shows that when prices are too high, operators are likely to invest less in their networks – which impacts the quality and reach of services. But when spectrum management is done over the long term, mobile operators can feel safe to make investments to improve coverage and speeds, it leads to massive benefits for the whole of society.