The EU has recently announced that it will guarantee the release of high quality waves for wireless broadband services in all EU Member States to boost mobile connectivity and deployment of 5G technology.
As a result, mobile operators will gain exclusive access to the 700 MHz band in 2020. This week, the European Council’s decision to ensure the release of high-quality airwaves for wireless broadband services in all EU member states will help boost mobile connectivity and drive the roll-out of 5G technology.
The coordinated use of the 700 MHz band, which offers high speeds and excellent coverage, will allow for faster and better internet connections across Europe. This will reduce the digital divide and make it possible to develop and offer new innovative digital services such as connected cars or eHealth, not just in urban but also in rural and remote areas.
As a result of this decision, mobile operators will obtain exclusive access to the 700 MHz band (694-790 MHz) by 30 June 2020. This timeframe coincides with the expected deployment of 5G networks in Europe. Member states may, however, delay this reallocation by up to two years, but only in duly justified cases set out in the decision.
The 700 MHz band is part of the 470-790 MHz range that is currently widely used for digital television broadcasting and wireless microphones at various events. To ensure that there is adequate spectrum available for the audio-visual sector even after the upper part of the range has been repurposed, broadcasting services will stay a priority in the sub-700 MHz band (470-694 MHz) at least until 2030, based on national needs.
Member states will have the option of using this range for other purposes, including mobile internet services, as long as this is compatible with broadcasting needs.
All EU countries must set out an implementation plan for this reassignment by the end of June 2018.
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“Opening the 700 MHz band for mobile internet helps ensure top-quality connectivity throughout Europe and can really transform many people’s lives – let’s think for example of the use of telemedicine in remote areas,” said Dr Emmanuel Mallia, the Maltese Minister for Competitiveness and Digital, Maritime and Services Economy. “It also represents a major step in the industrial shift to 5G, which is essential for the future competitiveness of the EU.”
In light of this ambition from the EU, Fon – one of the world’s leading carrier WiFi provider – highlighted the importance for telecommunications operators to consider WiFi as an integrated technology, which could bring them significant cost savings as well as new sources of monetisation.
Alex Puregger, CEO of Fon, remarked that Telco operators should be much more strategic when it comes to incorporating WiFi into their product offering as WiFi has a crucial role to play in the face of this explosion of data usage. According to Juniper Research’s “Mobile Data Offload & Onload” report, WiFi will carry most of this traffic as more than 60% of mobile data traffic will be offloaded over WiFi networks this year.
In this context, to allow service providers to run a better managed WiFi experience, Fon has optimised the Wifi service management solution, which covers all aspects of WiFi delivery.
The end-to-end solution enables operators to use WiFi as an integrated technology with the cellular core. As a result, they can deliver WiFi services to subscribers, and manage them just like cellular and fixed services, complementing existing access networks, and providing a holistic proposition. The solution helps service providers to reduce operation and management costs, whilst simultaneously enhancing customer experience and improving services.
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