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Mobile operators gain access to UHF TV bandwidth

Posted: 20 Nov 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile operator  UHF bandwidth  3G network 

After a month-long meeting, which ended Nov. 16, the World Radiocommunications Conference has reached a compromise that gives mobile service providers access to bandwidth reserved for TV broadcasts.

The conference, under the auspices of the ITU, which sets the strategies and frequencies for global mobile communications and broadcasting worldwide every three to four years, seemed deadlocked on the contentious issue of whether and how to transfer part of the UHF TV bandwidth to mobile operators.

The compromise, according to an Associated Press report, came after delegates met for almost 20hrs straight in a plenary session that began Nov. 14 evening.

The decision will give makers of wireless equipment more confidence to develop better and less expensive Internet devices. It would also allow operators of 3G networks to make better use of their frequencies and thus offer services at lower costs. U.S. officials had lobbied hard for a single global agreement on spectrum use, arguing that a common approach was better than each country or region deciding to use separate frequencies for next-generation mobile services.

In the end, European and African countries decided to limit the amount of bandwidth available for mobile services to half of what will be offered in other regions, a move seen as a concession to their national broadcasting companies.

Earlier this year, the European Commission proposed repealing long-standing European regulations on using frequency bands that are currently employed for the GSM network. Some regions also opted to wait until 2015 before making the least expensive part of the radio spectrum available to advanced mobile services.

The analogue UHF bandwidth is scheduled to be switched to digital operation in most regions over the next decade, but at a significantly different pace. U.S broadcasters are due to switch off the analogue signals by 2009, most Asian countries by 2015, with most European countries sometime in between.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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