The European Commission has allowed nine Member States further postponements to their obligation to make 800MHz spectrum available for mobile broadband use. All states originally agreed to meet a January 2013 deadline but a number have yet to comply. There were 14 requests for further postponements, accounting for half of all Member States.
Belgium’s three mobile operators, Belgacom, Mobistar and KPN-owned Base have each received 2 x 10MHz of 800MHz spectrum in the country’s latest spectrum auction, at a price of €120m per allocation. There were no other entrants in the auction, which was run by Belgian regulator BIPT.
The UK arm of Telefonica, O2, has announced that it will launch LTE services later this month. The network will be switched on in London, Leeds and Bradford on 29th August.
SK Telecom has launched the first commercial network LTE network in South Korea with the service going live today, 1 July 2011. The network uses 800MHz spectrum using 5MHz of bandwidth, doubling to 10MHz by the fourth quarter of 2011. The network in Seoul comprises of 1,172 Radio Units that act as antennas and 609 Digital Units that handle data. It will also be boosted by the use of one million 800MHz repeaters for seamless coverage across the city and SK Telecom said it will deliver a maximum downlink speed of 37.5Mbps.
Winners of the 800MHz digital dividend spectrum in the UK could have to shoulder the £100m cost of ensuring that signals do not interfere with digital terrestrial TV.
The future for fast internet in rural areas in France has received a boost with the announcement by the Éric Besson, Minister of Industry, Energy and the Digital Economy, that mobile operators would be able to acquire two blocks of 15MHz channels in the 800MHz band. One would be used for download and the other dedicated to upload.
We can’t see it, touch it, or hear it, but radio spectrum is central to our lives. It is the essential raw material for all mobile services and, like many raw materials, it is a finite and therefore extremely valuable resource for which demand is increasing all the time.
UK communications regulator Ofcom has finally been given the go ahead to move forward with the auctioning of 4G spectrum, as well as the refarming of 2G spectrum so it can be used for 3G services. However, ongoing delays have put the country behind other parts of Western Europe and operators are unlikely to get their hands on the attractive 2.6GHz band before 2012.