5G mobile internet a step closer with 700 MHz deal
(BRUSSELS) - EU Member States will make the 700 MHz band available for wireless broadband by 2020, enabling a shift to 5G mobile internet, Parliament and Council negotiators agreed informally on Wednesday evening.
"Spectrum is a precious resource that must be used wisely and strategically", said Slovak minister Arpad Ersek, for the EU presidency: "Releasing of 700 MHz frequency band for wireless broadband is a win-win solution for digital industry, audio-visual sector, as well as for all consumers. It brings long-term regulatory certainty and is essential for uptake of 5G. This means better connectivity everywhere."
Under the agreement, EU countries must reassign the 700 MHz frequency band (694-790 MHz) to wireless broadband services by 30 June 2020. If they are unable to do this, a delay of up to two years is possible in duly justified cases.
The 700 MHz band provides high speeds and excellent coverage. Its coordinated use for mobile will promote the take-up of 4G and help offer high-quality broadband to all Europeans, including in rural areas. Increased connectivity will make it easier for citizens to communicate and use internet content and services in their daily life, wherever they are. It improves conditions for business, drives up demand for more services and furthers economic development.
This targeted assignment of spectrum will also make it easier to roll out 5G as soon as it becomes available (around 2020). 5G will enable vastly enhanced wireless network capacity and ubiquitous connectivity, allowing for the effective deployment of innovative services such as remote healthcare, connected cars and smart infrastructures. Creating the conditions for these new technologies is crucial for Europe's global competitiveness.
Broadcasting services, such as digital television and wireless microphones, will maintain priority in the sub-700 MHz band (470-694 MHz) at least until 2030, based on national needs. This gives the audio-visual sector long-term regulatory predictability so that it can continue to provide services and secure necessary investments.
The 470-790 MHz range is currently widely used for digital television broadcasting and for wireless microphones, for instance in theatres, concerts and sporting events.