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European Union reaches agreement on spectrum policy, amid industry concern

The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have reached a provisional political agreement on spectrum policy envisioned in the European Electronic Communications Code, including the availability of radio spectrum for 5G by 2020 in the EU, 20 years investment predictability for spectrum licences, and enhanced coordination and peer review of planned radio spectrum assignment procedures. The agreement will “prepare the ground for 5G network deployment across the EU, taking into account the previous agreements on the setting of radio spectrum fees, on eliminating cross-border interference and on deploying the small cells more easily”. Andrus Ansip, Commission VP for the digital single market, said: “We are laying the groundwork for the deployment of 5G across Europe. It is vital because many applications, from connected vehicles to smart cities and telemedicine, will not happen without first-class connectivity. Let's now agree as soon as possible on other elements of the new EU telecoms rules that we proposed.”

Mariya Gabriel, commissioner for the digital economy and society, said: “The EU is ready to lead on 5G deployment. With this political agreement, co-legislators set in stone the roadmap on spectrum for 5G that we put forward last October and which paves the way for the 5G gigabit society envisioned by the Commission in 2025. It is time to deliver. This can happen only if telecoms, vertical industries and public authorities agree to join efforts and go in the same direction.”

The negotiations on other parts of the European Electronic Communications Code are ongoing. But ETNO, the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association, is not happy. In a statement it says: “Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the parties involved, the negotiations fell short of delivering the expected result on licence duration and eluded the peer review question. The current average licence duration is higher than the guaranteed 15-years baseline currently negotiated and it would be anyway distant from the 25 years of Europe’s leading member states. We ask legislators to ensure that the final text delivers far more ambition, more certainty, less complexity and a credible governance system.” Lise Fuhr, ETNO’s director general, added: “5G is too important for Europe to accept a compromise falling short of the original ambition. Future licences need to deliver increased certainty with respect to the status quo and a truly effective peer review system is essential to ensure the credibility of spectrum policy.” ETNO statement here

  • Thursday, 22 March 2018

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