Feeds

EU releases 2G GSM-reserved spectrum into wild

Washes hands of 900MHz

High performance access to file storage

The EU has officially released the 900MHz spectrum formerly reserved for 2G GSM services, allowing other technologies into the space assuming that local regulators can sort out the historical mess.

The Council of Ministers has approved the Commission's proposal to allow other technologies into the slices of 900MHz where 2G GSM technology was mandated back in 1987, an approval that the EU reckons could save the industry €1.9bn - though that figure should be taken with a small truck full of salt. But while the move is one step in the direction of deregulation, 2G GSM will still have the spectrum to itself for a few years yet.

The move comes as no surprise: the GSMA (industry lobbying body) has been pushing for operators to be allowed to deploy 3G services at 900MHz for years, promising hugely improved coverage thanks to the additional propagation inherent at a lower frequency (3G is currently squeezed in at 2.1GHz, by EU mandate). In the UK the regulator, Ofcom, has stated its intention to modify the 900MHz licences at the earliest opportunity.

Which is where the problems start. Back in 1985 mobile telephony was a risky business, and Ofcom's predecessor decided to award (rather than sell) the 900MHz band to two competing operators to see how the business developed. 24 years later, Vodafone and O2 still have those chunks of 900MHz and are looking forward to deploying 3G, 4G and everything that follows, but T-Mobile, 3 and Orange spent billions on 2.1GHz spectrum on the basis that it was the only place where 3G would be permitted. So they are calling foul, and want a share of the newly-valuable 900MHz band.

That leaves Ofcom, in common with some other EU regulators, in an untenable position: someone is going to be upset, and no matter what they decide there'll certainly be legal battles to justify that decision as the aggrieved parties turn to m'learned friends.

The decision could also see different technologies deployed in different countries - the very thing the original mandating of GSM was intended to avoid. But these days the value of such roaming is well understood, and should push all the operators in the same direction (towards LTE) in the same way that EU legislation pushed them all towards GSM in the first place.

As for saving €1.9bn: that's based on a single company deciding to roll out a 3G service across Europe without having to worry about incumbents, regulators or spectrum availability. It's simply based on a comparison of cell sizes at 2.1GHz and 900MHz and concludes that you need less of the latter - if only life were that straightforward. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.