European Commission Adds Spectrum To Accelerate Rollout of 4G Services

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BRUSSELS--The European Commission decided Nov. 5 to add 120 MHz of radio spectrum for mobile device and internet companies to roll out the fourth generation of wireless services faster.

With the addition, the European Union will have about 1,000 MHz of radio spectrum available for high-speed wireless broadband, which is twice the amount in the United States, according to the commission, which is the EU's executive branch.

The commission's decision means that the 27 EU member states must open the spectrum, around the 2 GHz band, for 4G use by June 30, 2014, at the latest.

“This extra spectrum for 4G in Europe means we can better meet the changing and growing demand for broadband. I want to see member states acting swiftly to change existing licenses. We all win from faster wireless connections in Europe,” EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.

The 120 MHz is currently used only for 3G wireless communications under the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, or UMTS.

The commission hopes that mobile operators will invest in improved mobile networks to relieve the increasingly crowded airwaves, so businesses and consumers can enjoy faster data transfers.

Mobile data traffic volumes are expected to almost double every year for five years in the EU.

Allowing more flexibility of how mobile operators use spectrum bands by removing technology restrictions is also expected to improve cost-efficient deployments of wireless infrastructure.

The commission said it also was considering a follow-up measure to ensure efficient use of unpaired terrestrial 2 GHz spectrum.

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