The European Union set out its strategy to establish a single digital market this week, a central element of which is fostering the deployment of new networks by co-ordinating the release of new chunks of frequency spectrum for use by mobile phone services.
The announcement was long on rhetoric and short on detail, with a more comprehensive policy set to be revealed in May. But the EC has earlier intimated that spectrum should be assigned more efficiently according to the specific demands of the service in question. So whilst mobile telephony which requires low latency and good quality of service (QoS) might be allocated more spectrum in a particular waveband, for example, mass market short range devices using WiFi where interference or disruption is more acceptable may be less of a priority when it comes to carving up available frequencies.
The EC also pledged to review current telecoms regulations in relation to Internet telephony and the perceived market imbalance between telecommunications infrastructure owners subject to strict regulation and growing number of competitive over the top (OTT) voice services which are not.
‘Europe cannot be at the forefront of the digital revolution with a patchwork of 28 different rules for telecommunications services, copyright, IT security and data protection. We need a European market, which allows new business models to flourish, start-ups to grow and the industry to take advantage of the internet of things,’ said EC digital economy commissioner Günther Oettinger in a statement.
‘This will be an uphill struggle all the way, but we need an ambitious start.’
Whilst the theory makes sense co-ordinating spectrum allocation to not just individual operators spread across 28 member states but to specific services run by those companies looks an overly complicated and time consuming task which many argue will inevitably hamper service innovation and implementation.