ITU harmonises 700MHz for mobile broadband use

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Operators across Europe will be able to take advantage of the 700MHz band, after the ITU allocated the spectrum for a globally harmonised solution.

The decision means operators across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia will be able to deploy mobile broadband services across the 694-790MHz band.

In future, 700MHz could be used as a truly global LTE frequency. In 2007, the ITU deemed the band suitable for mobile use for operators in Asia-Pacific and North and South America.

The ITU said the decision would not harm other sectors. Television broadcasters use the band, as well as some aeronautical navigation systems.

ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said: "The WRC-15 decision represents a landmark in the development of broadband mobile on a worldwide scale, regardless of location, network or terminal used. It goes a long way in enabling bridging of the digital divide, while fully protecting the other services currently operated in the band.”

François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, added: “The global harmonisation of the 694-790 MHz frequency band that has been decided by WRC-15 paves the way for manufacturers and mobile operators to offer mobile broadband at an affordable price in currently underserved areas."

The decision is likely to please the GSMA, which has been campaigning for the 700MHz band, and frequencies below it, to be freed up for mobile use.

Earlier this month France became the latest market to distribute 700MHz spectrum, after freeing up the band from television broadcasters. Free Mobile and Orange won two blocks each in the sale.