Share this page: 

Parliament approved a deal with Member States Wednesday on how best to reallocate radio spectrum frequencies freed up by the switch from analogue to digital TV to new uses, such as wireless broadband services. This will help to accommodate exponential growth in the use of wireless broadband services.

"The first EU policy on radio spectrum will enable the EU to regain world leadership in wireless communication. It will optimise the use of frequencies to the benefit of all users of smart phones and other mobile digital platforms. The Radio Spectrum Policy Programme is a crucial building block in creating a single digital European market", said Gunnar Hökmark (EPP, SE) who steered the legislation through Parliament.

The allocation of radio frequencies is a matter for national authorities, not the EU, but rules on how to divide up the spectrum among internet providers and users need to be agreed at EU level.

Analogue TV out - wireless broadband in by 2013

According to the deal, the 800 MHz band, currently used for TV, should be made available for wireless broadband services in all EU Member States from 1 January 2013. This will help create a pan-European telecommunications market where new services can create opportunities and growth for 500 million EU consumers.

More space for mobile data traffic by 2015

At Parliament's request, at least 1200 MHz should be allocated to mobile data traffic by 2015, says the legislation, already approved by Member States.

Furthermore, the Commission should assess, no later than 1 January 2015, whether there is a need to harmonize additional spectrum bands in order to manage the exponential growth in wireless data traffic.

Procedure: Co-decision (2nd reading)