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United Kingdom : New GSMA report reveals global economic benefits of An L-band mobile allocation.

The GSMA has published a new report outlining the global socio-economic benefits that could be realised with the identification of L-band spectrum (1350-1400MHz/1427-1518MHz) for mobile services during the international treaty negotiations at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15).

The study, Global momentum and economic impact of the 1.4/1.5GHz band for IMT , developed by Plum Consulting, highlights that there is nearly unanimous commitment around the world for a mobile broadband identification in the L-band frequency range 1427-1518MHz1. However, the report describes the fragmented situation in the Asia Pacific region where only 12 countries currently support the use of the centre portion (1452-1492MHz) of the band for mobile. This lack of support threatens to hinder the economies of scale and uptake of mobile technology that globally harmonised L-band spectrum could deliver.

Spectrum harmonisation is a major objective for WRC-15 said John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. With less than a week until the start of WRC-15, we hope that the Asia Pacific countries will review their position on L-band spectrum and align with the rest of the world in order to drive low-cost access to mobile services to meet rapidly growing demand, enhance rural coverage and improve service quality.

According to the study, the potential economic benefits from mobile services gaining access to the 40MHz of spectrum at 1452-1492MHz could amount to more than US$40 billion globally. Significantly, a further US$9 billion in economic contribution could be realised if those Asia Pacific countries currently not supporting this portion of the band changed position to identify its use for mobile services.

The characteristics of L-band frequencies are ideally suited for mobile services as they are capable of delivering additional capacity and coverage over relatively large areas, including inside buildings. A portion of the band is already allocated to mobile services worldwide and another is reserved for digital radio broadcasting, but is largely unused, creating an ideal basis for a wider mobile allocation. The centre portion of 40MHz could be made available for mobile services as early as 2018-2020, while the surrounding 40MHz could be available in many countries by 2025, with limited disruption to other services.

The 12 supporting countries in Asia Pacific, spearheaded by Japan, are submitting a joint proposal into the WRC-15 to identify the missing 1452-1492MHz for mobile broadband in their countries. This could mean part of the region will benefit from this global band, while others will deny their citizens access to those benefits.

We urge other Asia Pacific countries to join the proposal in support of the centre portion of the L-band so that they can leverage the enormous economies of scale that will result. A positive outcome at WRC-15 to support the wider L-band will allow national regulators to plan now to make sure the band is available for mobile services as the demand from citizens and businesses requires, continued Giusti. This would help governments across the globe meet future mobile data demand, and importantly reap the considerable social and economic benefits that mobile broadband delivers.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Oct 29, 2015
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