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EU moves towards spectrum trading

The radio waves, not the Sinclair

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An influential report written on behalf of the EC has come out in favour of trading in radio spectrum. The report says "benefits from spectrum trading would greatly outweight the costs associated with trading and liberalisation".

The researchers believe that trading would be beneficial, would accelerate development of services and remove barriers to entry. They recommend that individual member states should sort out the details of any sale, provided national systems have a common framework. All such systems across Europe should share a similar specification of spectrum usage rights and obligations, minimum information that bidders for bandwidth must disclose and similar approaches to protecting competition. The report also calls for more liberalisation of the spectrum market - reducing restrictions on what people can do with the spectrum.

Amit Nagpal, senior consultant at Analysys Consulting, said: "Services derived from radio spectrum are of great economic and social value to Europe, and there are substantial benefits to European citizens from ensuring that spectrum is used efficiently to deploy services of the greates benefit to them. The combination of trading and liberalisation will facilitate the introduction of new services and promote innovation.

It will also remove barriers to market entry created by blocks of frequencies being reserved for particular uses, and promote competition in the supply of spectrum-dreived services."

A spokesman for Ofcom said: "We ran a consultation on this last year and received over 100 responses almost all in favour. We are now working out the first steps to setting up a framework to create a market. It is one of the most important things we are doing and is crucial for the future of the market." The report notes that benefits would be felt not only in the country which liberalised spectrum trading but other countries would also enjoy a spill-over effect.

The EC appointed Analysys Consulting, DotEcon Ltd and Hogan and Hartson LLP to carry out the research in September 2003. The full report is available for download here. The EC is holding a public workshop on 15 July to discuss the report.®

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