The GSM Association (GSMA) today called on regulators the world over to open up the 900Mhz frequency spectrum (in addition to the 2100Mhz frequency spectrum currently in use) to 3G networks. Not only would the new spectrum allocation increase the bandwidth available for 3G services, but will also make 3G networks cheaper and easier to deploy. The move would bring 3G to an estimated 300 million people in Asia, Europe, and Africa by the year 2012.
Deploying a 3G network on the 900Mhz band has a certain appeal to network operators in developing nations that were previously concerned with the high cost of a 2100Mhz-based 3G infrastructure. A 3G network on a 900Mhz band can achieve 40% greater coverage than the same network on the 2100Mhz spectrum – driving down the cost of rolling out a network in an area with little to no fixed-line infrastructure.
However, in order for this initiative to succeed, “National governments need to coordinate their spectrum policies to enable the widespread rollout of HSPA in the 900MHz band,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer of the GSMA. “Such coordination would make HSPA at 900MHz a cost-effective way to provide valuable broadband services to the many people untouched by the high-speed Internet revolution that has swept through the developed world.”
We’ll have to wait and see how this one pans out. But, while the world is working on improving 3G access, the US is working on new 4G standards. We may still be in 3G’s infancy when 4G comes online, but hopefully that means we will have an edge in 4G.