The market for wireless broadband services in the European Union will be thrown open to question in October when member states vote over expanded spectrum allocations for 3G systems, experts warned today.
A report published by Informa Telecoms & Media explained that European states have split into two camps.
One is led by the UK and, crucially, with strong backing from the EU, is pushing to adopt a free-market approach to the 3G expansion bands (2.5MHz-2.69MHz) which will allow them to be used by WiMax and other technologies.
The other camp, led by France and Finland, wants the EU to restrict use of the spectrum to established IMT-2000 3G telephony technologies.
In principle, the debate will decide whether Europe eventually embraces a free-market approach to spectrum management, according to Informa.
The European Commission hopes that October's vote, to be held at a meeting of the EC-led Radio Spectrum Committee, will lead to the 2.5MHz-2.69MHz spectrum bands, currently set aside for WCDMA, being used by rival wireless broadband technologies such as WiMax and OFDM-based systems.
If agreement cannot be reached within the Radio Spectrum Committee by December, the issue will move to the European Parliament.
A decision is expected to become law in individual member states by the end of 2007, while spectrum in the 2.5MHz-2.69MHz band is expected to be allocated across Europe by the beginning of 2008.
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