The European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission have agreed on how to coordinate the use of the 700MHz spectrum band, as part of a wider plan to facilitate the introduction of 5G mobile technology by 2020. The agreement, which focuses on the ultra-high frequency (UHF) band (470MHz-790MHz), including the 700MHz band (694-790 MHz), builds on a proposal presented by the Commission in February 2016. It also represents the first deal made under the Digital Single Market strategy, as presented by the Commission in May 2015.
As per the terms of the pact, the 700MHz band should be assigned to mobile operators and made available for wireless broadband use by 30 June 2020 at the latest in all EU Member states, although duly justified exceptions are possible until 30 June 2022. Further, EU member states will adopt and make public their national plans for releasing this band by 30 June 2018. They will need also to conclude cross-border coordination agreements by the end of 2017. In the sub-700MHz band (470MHz-694MHz) meanwhile, long-term priority is given to broadcasting use until 2030.
Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, commented: ‘Better spectrum coordination is vital to provide higher quality internet to all Europeans. It paves the way for 5G, the next generation of communication networks, and the internet of things (IoT). We made a first step today with a joint approach to use the 700MHz band in the EU. We should go further and this is one of the main objectives of our new Electronic Communications Code and 5G action plan presented earlier this year.’