The European Commission has adopted a Decision amending the harmonisation of radio spectrum in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band (or 3.6 GHz) for future use with 5G.
For Brussels, this is a necessary operation to enable Member States to reorganise and allow the use of this band for 5G systems by 31 December 2020 as required by the new EU telecoms rules under the European Electronic Communications Code.
The wireless broadband band has been harmonised in the EU since 2008. However, its use was low and only a low number of licenses were issued.
This change to the Decision updates the technical conditions for making them compatible with 5G, as the 3.6 GHz band has been identified as the primary pioneer band for 5G in the Union.
Commission Implementing Decisions on spectrum harmonisation for broadband wireless communications services are based on the principle of technology and service neutrality.
This means, explains a Brussels note, that operators are not obliged to use this band only for 5G, but will allow the adoption of 5G services in the EU.
5G will rely on its progressive deployment on the other two Union floor bands (700 MHz and 26 GHz) as well as on a further spectrum in existing harmonised EU bands below 6 GHz and a new spectrum in so-called millimetre wave bands
The Brussels decision follows a positive opinion from the Member States in the Radio Spectrum Committee.
In future, once the new EU Communications Code enters into force, the radio spectrum will be allocated and even better coordinated at EU level than it is now.
The aim of Brussels is that Europe can become a leader in the deployment of 5G networks.
The decision will be complemented by a similar harmonisation initiative for the 26 GHz band.
The current UHF (EU) decision of 27 December 2013 provides for the availability of the 700 MHz band in the European Union by mid 2020.