EC begins legal action over 2.6GHz frequency band

30 Oct 2009

The European Commission (EC) has announced it has opened an infringement procedure against Germany for failing to allocate the 2500MHz-2690MHz radio frequency band, suitable for the provision of fixed-wireless services. Under European Union (EU) radio spectrum harmonisation rules, all EU countries have to ensure that all kinds of telecoms services can utilise this band. At present, Germany only allocates this frequency band to mobile services, which EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding states is an obstacle to the deployment of wireless broadband services in Germany and Europe, and is a violation of EU law. With the allocation of this frequency band restricted to mobile services, the EC believes that fixed-wireless operators lack the legal certainty they need to provide telecoms services in the 2.6GHz spectrum band, even if they acquire spectrum in the future tender procedure, which the Federal Network Agency (FNA) is expected to conduct in 2010.

The EC has sent a letter of formal notice to Germany, the first step in an infringement procedure against an EU Member State for failing to put EU rules in place. The government has two months to respond to the letter; if the EC receives no reply, it can issue a reasoned opinion (the second stage in an infringement procedure). If Germany still fails to fulfill its obligations, the EC can refer the case to the European Court of Justice.