FLEXIBLE USE OF UHF BAND IS ESSENTIAL FOR FUTURE OF EUROPEAN MOBILE BROADBAND AND BROADCASTING, SAYS GSMA
London: Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA, today offered the following statement following the conclusion of the Lamy Report public consultation, urging the European Commission to embrace flexibility for future uses when considering responses to its consultation on the future of the UHF spectrum band (below 700MHz):
“The rapid evolution in mobile broadband and broadcast services requires Europe to keep all options open for how the UHF spectrum band will be used. Mobile data is rising rapidly as more people consume increasing amounts of content on mobile devices. In the past week alone, two of Europe’s leading broadcasters1 have emphasised the need to transition to an ‘Internet-first’ and ‘mobile-first’ content delivery platform. However, Europe has fallen behind other developed regions in the mobile Internet race, putting the future of mobile and broadcasting as well as the wider economy at risk.
“The UHF band is the single most promising frequency range for extending good value, high-quality mobile broadband across the continent, from urban centres to rural areas. Asia Pacific already has the flexibility to use the band for mobile services and North America is taking steps to put itself in the same position. Europe risks being the only mature mobile and broadcast market without this flexibility.
“The GSMA believes that some free-to-air traditional broadcast delivery will remain essential in the future and should be protected, but it is in the interests of both mobile and broadcast providers that there be greater flexibility in how the UHF spectrum is used in order to meet consumer needs.
“The GSMA is keen to work constructively with the broadcasting industry to develop a solution that will supply long-term guarantees for the future of digital terrestrial TV, while also providing the possibility for part of the sub-700MHz band to be used for mobile services. This will provide peace of mind to European countries that rely on terrestrial broadcast services and ensure a robust future for the region’s mobile and broadcast services.
“Specifically the GSMA recommends that the European Commission consultation:
- Support Member States’ requests for release of the 700MHz band preferably between 2018 and 2020 and potentially earlier;
- Avoid delaying a review of the sub-700MHz band until 2025 as the mobile and broadcast markets are evolving too quickly (it should be no later than 2020);
- Support a co-primary mobile and broadcasting allocation in the sub-700MHz band at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 so Member States have the flexibility to plan how, should they wish, to use the band for both mobile and broadcasting.”
Notes to Editors
1 See ‘BBC aims to go ‘internet first’ to attract younger audiences’: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/apr/09/bbc-internet-first-bbc3-matthew-postgate. Also ‘TV industry faces its ‘ketchup’ moment: ‘Mobile is now the first screen’: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/apr/13/tv-industry-ketchup-moment-mobile-first-screen
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai and the Mobile 360 Series conferences.
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