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News :: Harmonising radio spectrum paves the way for advanced mobile satellite services

Harmonising radio spectrum paves the way for advanced mobile satellite services

(20/02/2007) Europe-wide mobile TV, broadband data and emergency communications are among the innovative services that will now be possible thanks to a Commission Decision to harmonise radio spectrum use for mobile satellite service systems. This Decision will give industry the necessary confidence to invest in such services. They may now even reach remote areas, where previously it was uneconomic to deploy.

Mobile satellite services are unique in being able to cover the entire EU, reaching even the most remote and least populated areas. This means that all citizens can potentially access the same services no matter where they are using their mobile. These new systems may also help bridge the digital divide by providing services which are uneconomic using terrestrial networks.

This Commission Decision responds to increased industry interest in investing in such networks and increase competition between communication infrastructures.

It harmonises the use of radio spectrum around the 2GHz frequency, providing legal certainty for the availability of radio resources for mobile satellite systems in the EU. Implementing so-called complementary ground components may also be possible. An integral part of the network, sharing the same frequencies as the satellites, these ground transmitters would mainly be used to improve services in places where satellite signals may be shadowed by high buildings – i.e. in "urban canyons" - or other artificial or natural obstacles.

Technically, these systems allow high-speed communication throughout Europe between satellites and handheld mobile terminals that are roughly the same size as GSM or 3G terminals. Potentially this means mobile TV and radio, high speed internet access, fleet tracking, search and rescue emergency services, and the remote monitoring or controlling of processes.

Supported by EU Member States and the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), this Decision was adopted according to previous radio spectrum rules (see IP/02/259).

Establishing a stable regulatory framework for these satellite systems will ultimately encourage long-term growth, competitiveness, employment and investment. The next step requires creating a legal framework for the coordinated selection and authorisation of candidate systems for the 2GHz band by end 2008.

In parallel, the Commission has proposed that the new Telecom rules being prepared (IP/06/874) include suitable provisions to establish a generic mechanism to similarly deal with future pan-European cases.

More information:

The EU´s Radio Spectrum Policy

The adopted Decision of 2GHz mobile satellite services and the earlier 2002 Decision for a regulatory framework