The European Commission plans to remove limits on how mobile operators can use their networks by scrapping the now outdated 1987 EU directive that restricts access to lower band (900Mhz) of the radio spectrum to traditional mobile communications. The idea behind this is to allow carriers to use their existing 2G networks to run the new 3G services, and to bring modern mobile services like video calling and mobile TV to the still uncovered-by-3G rural areas.
The problem is that mobile operators already paid heavily for their 3G licences, with UK’s five networks spending way over 20 billion pounds to secure the place in the world of 3G communications. And as we know, take-up has so far been slow. To put it in other words — if the 2G spectrum is opened for 3G services, will governments have to pay a refund to the carriers?
Anyway, mobile lobby group argues that the European Commission should go this way, suggesting that 3G network coverage would increase by 40% and enable 300 million extra EU consumers to use the service. Furthermore, this kind of move would allow operators to compensate for the loses produced by the newly imposed roaming rules, as well as to benefit the end users with even lower phone calling costs.
I’m all for it. Hopefully, EU find some way to compensate operators for investing heavily in the 3G licences and we’ll have even cheaper 3G services. 🙂