The results should in particular support the implementation of the Article 9 "Inventory" of the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme (RSPP) by developing a reliable approximation approach to assess the medium and long-term spectrum usage densities in harmonised license-exempt frequency bands. In addition, the study was supposed to contribute to the establishment of a potential trans-Atlantic market of radio equipment using harmonised licence-exempt frequency bands. The study was undertaken in four stages, each of which provided the foundation for later stages in the study:
- Overview of radio equipment and relevant EC decisions;
- Forecasting equipment penetration and use in Europe 2015 to 2030;
- Spectrum use and congestion analysis;
- Europe and US licence-exempt spectrum comparison.
The study developed usage scenarios in four representative environments: the Smart Home, the Smart Office, the Industrial Plant (factory, warehouse) and the transport hub (railway station).
The main study recommendations are as follows:
- continue the evolution of EU spectrum regulation from application classes and specific technologies that considers benefits of generic SRD regulations, a flexible approach to the development of technical characteristics in order to enhance coexistence and sharing between different types of devices while supporting innovation;
- undertake a review of the harmonisation with the US as there is potential scope for more harmonisation on the basis of development of FCC regulations on license-exempt spectrum;
- continue to follow the penetration of devices using license-exempt spectrum across the markets in EU-28 plus EFTA countries in both "hot" and "cold" bands to assess trends in growth/decline of spectrum usage and occupation;
- the study points out to frequency bands that are currently not harmonised under EU law, but would benefit from that status: the 915 – 921 MHz band (e.g. for RFID), the 1900 – 1920 MHz band (e.g. for SRDs in wireless industrial automation) and the 5.805 – 5.815 GHz (e.g. ITS and road toll collection) band. The 915 – 921 MHz and 1900 – 1920 MHz bands also have spectrum harmonisation potential with the US.