Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Action 19: Spectrum Policy plan

The action aims at coordinating the technical and regulatory conditions applying to spectrum use and, where necessary, harmonise spectrum bands so that consumers would be able to use the same electronic devices across the EU.

The European Commission proposal on Radio Spectrum Policy Plan was adopted on 20 September 2010. The Legislative process was concluded in 2012.

What is the problem? Not all electronic devices work across the EU

The management of radio spectrum in the EU remains an area of Member States competence - that is why some electronic devices may not work everywhere in the EU. However, this is a pre-condition for the development of pan-EU services enabling better quality of life for EU citizens and more growth and jobs in the EU internal market.

Why is the EU action required? To ensure that common EU radio waves are used across the continent

In order to make sure that all EU citizens benefit from wireless innovations, radio waves for electronic devices must be common across the EU. Consumers and businesses already benefit from harmonised spectrum usage for many products and applications, such as GSM or Wi-Fi. By implementing the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme (RSPP), the EU can further support consumers and businesses in using and developing cross-border services to benefit from the Single Market. Moreover, global competition is growing in terms of wireless equipment, so spectrum coordination at EU level is increasingly urgent.

What has the Commission done so far and what will do next?

The European Commission proposal on Radio Spectrum Policy Plan was adopted on 20 September 2010. The Legislative process was concluded in 2012.

In the framework of the RSPP, the European Commission is working towards the harmonisation of spectrum management rules and is pursuing targeted actions focussing on the development of wireless communication networks and services for the benefit of EU consumers and businesses.

More information:

EU Radio Spectrum Policy

Report, presentations and video of the Aeronautical Spectrum Seminar

The Agenda - High-Level Group UHF

The Mandate - High-Level Group UHF

Future of the UHF radio spectrum band

The study team will present the conclusions of the study on the importance of Wi-Fi & the socioeconomic benefits of using small cell infrastructures in a public workshop on 3 September 2013 in Brussels. The programme is available here.
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Centre Albert Borschette – Room AB-0D, Rue Froissart 36, Brussels 1040

To register your participation in the workshop, please send an e-mail to indicating your full name and nationality before 30 August 2013.

A new study by WIK and Aegis, funded by the European Commission, highlights the importance of Wi-Fi for connecting EU citizens to the Internet. In 2012 71% of all wireless data traffic that was delivered to smartphones and tablets in the EU was delivered via Wi-Fi. It is estimated that this figure will grow to 78% by 2016. It is predicted that in 2016 up to €200 billion in network cost reductions can be expected from data traffic offloading chiefly to Wi-Fi.

Mobile data traffic is estimated to grow at 66% annually for the period 2012-2017, but at the same time almost 80% of all traffic to mobile devices is predicted to come over Wi-Fi. The reason: most smartphone use occurs at home or in the office. The study points out that EU countries like the UK, France or Germany have among the highest household penetration of Wi-Fi in the world; however other countries are not so well covered.

For the study, data traffic off-loading was defined as routing wireless data that could be served by long-range cellular networks over so called "small-areas access points" (LTE or Wi-Fi). Smart phones and tablets can connect to such alternative access network technologies, which use local coverage and can operate in frequencies that may not be exclusively accessible by one network operator.

The full report can be downloaded from the EU Bookshop.

FuNeM2013 Picture
FuNeMS2013, the 22nd Future Network and MobileSummit, will address the challenges of building the Future Internet Infrastructures, based on mobile, wireless and fixed broadband communications technologies, in the context of convergence and innovation. Scientific Papers are invited for online submission until 8 February 2013. The Call for Exhibitors will open in mid January with a deadline of 05 April 2013.
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Lisbon, Portugal


Progress Report
Status: Completed Anthony WHELAN Anthony WHELAN