Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Agreement set to spur growth of third generation mobile phones

Additional spectrum for third generation international mobile telecommunications (IMT-2000) has been agreed upon following negotiations between 150 countries including the European Union, effectively giving the green light to the mobile industry to provide third generation net...
Additional spectrum for third generation international mobile telecommunications (IMT-2000) has been agreed upon following negotiations between 150 countries including the European Union, effectively giving the green light to the mobile industry to provide third generation networks and services.

After four weeks of talks in Istanbul, delegates signed up to the final acts of the World Radio Communications Conference 2000, the results of which will provide room for the industry to confidently deploy sophisticated new radio-based communications systems.

The agreement will also provide radio spectrum for use by satellite radio navigation systems including Galileo, the project initiated by the European Community.

'The results of WRC-2000 largely respond to Community policy objectives, such as in the areas of communications and transport,' said Commissioner responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society Erkki Liikanen. 'Now that sufficient radio spectrum is secured, the Community should go ahead and consolidate its position with regards to the establishment of global wireless infrastructures in these Community policy areas.'

The decision provides for three common bands, available on a global basis for countries wishing to implement the terrestrial component of IMT-2000. The agreement provides for a high degree of flexibility to allow operators to evolve towards IMT-2000 according to market and other national considerations.

Member States can now proceed with the licensing of third generation operators with a secured stable environment. Each country will decide on the timing of availability of the licences according to national needs, allowing them to select those parts of the bands where sharing with existing services is the most suitable, taking account of existing licences.

WRC-2000 provided additional allocations for the radio navigation satellite services which will be used to support a new satellite positioning system - Europe's Galileo - to add to the two current systems, Russia's GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and the US Global Positioning System (GPS).

The additional spectrum ensures protection of the GPS and GLONASS signals and makes it possible for them to develop into second-generation more precise systems, while providing room for Europe's new system. It also adds competitiveness into a highly lucrative market in full expansion.

'The magnitude and dynamics of WRC are impressive,' said Loyola de Palacio, Commissioner for Transport and Energy. 'The technical issues under negotiation are of major importance for economic, strategic, cultural and social reasons. I am happy that Europe achieved good results across the board, not in the least with regard to Galileo.'

During the conference some 30 million pages of documentation were discussed, most of it highly technical in nature. The results affect Community policies on communications, transport, broadcasting and R&D.

The Commission intends to produce a Communications on the results of WRC-2000 by July, and will adopt a proposal for the European Parliament and Council on radio spectrum policy before the summer.
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