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EU strategy for mobile communications in Europe

The European Commission has, at the initiative of Commissioner Martin Bangemann, adopted a Communication setting out strategy and policy orientations aimed at creating a favourable environment for the further development of mobile communications in Europe. The main focus of th...
The European Commission has, at the initiative of Commissioner Martin Bangemann, adopted a Communication setting out strategy and policy orientations aimed at creating a favourable environment for the further development of mobile communications in Europe. The main focus of this document is the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) which will allow mobile users wireless access to the Internet and other multimedia services.

Areas identified as needing urgent attention include the clarification of the licensing regime to be used and confirmation that the radio frequency spectrum will become available in good time. The Commission believes that basic customer interests need to be preserved and that Europe-wide "roaming" for future mobile multimedia services should be ensured, as is the case today with voice telephony.

The Communication provides a synthesis of the comments and contributions received from Member States and sector players in response to an earlier Commission Communication on the development of mobile and wireless communications (RCN 8370). On that basis it is concluded that action by public administrations is urgently needed. Proposed lines for action are as follows:

- UMTS licensing should seek to ensure the development of pan-European services (ie. should support "roaming"). In this context, the development, by ETSI, of a common, open and internationally competitive standard for the air-interface to ensure end-to-end interoperability in a pan-European UMTS environment, is vital. It should be noted that the current framework for licensing (Directives 97/3/EC and 90/388/EC) is fully applicable to UMTS;

- The Commission recognizes the concerns of industry that the amount of radio frequency spectrum currently allocated for UMTS is too modest and supports the proposal to include this issue on the agenda of the World Radio Conference conference in 1999;

- The Commission is considering the proposal of a European Parliament and Council Decision with respect to roaming, frequencies and standards by early 1998;

- The Commission notes the need for further research in relation to UMTS. This effort will be pursued in the context of the forthcoming Fifth RTD Framework Programme;

- The Commission considers that the further development of UMTS should aim at establishing a global standard and calls on Member States and industry to promote UMTS as a key element of the IMT-2000 recommendation currently under preparation at the ITU.

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