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GSMA looks to 900MHz for more 3G

Ofcom promises to think about it

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The GSM Association, trade body of the mobile phone industry, is calling for regulators around the world to allow the use of 3G technology in the 900MHz band.

3G generally operates around 2.1GHz, but the GSMA reckons that if it used 900MHz too, then an additional 300 million people would be able to experience the joys of 3G, worldwide. The lower frequency has much greater range, and should provide better in-building coverage; in the UK it's used by O2 and Vodafone for their 2G networks.

Even though O2 and Vodafone have the rights to use the frequency in the UK, they are only allowed to deploy 2G: the licence explicitly states which technology is permitted.

Ofcom, the UK regulator, is heavily committed to more technology-neutral spectrum licensing, and is promising a review towards the end of this year when the EU mandate, which insists on frequencies being allocated to technologies, abrogates.

In the UK, those without 900MHz spectrum may well call foul, demanding some reallocation of the spectrum. The GSMA sees the frequency becoming a popular alternative to 2.1GHz, if regulation can be harmonised around the world to allow the kind of roaming that has proved so important to the popularity of GSM.®

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