Wireless providers in Europe will be able to access spectrum in the 2 GHz band for LTE service under a new decision from the European Commission.
The rule changes remove restrictions that limited the band to 3G service, effectively opening an additional 120 MHz for LTE.
“On this basis, the EU will enjoy up to twice the amount of spectrum for high-speed wireless broadband as in the United States, namely around 1000 MHz,” the commission said.
Members of the European Union have until June 30, 2014, to open the spectrum, which pairs the 1920-1980 MHz with 2110-2170 MHz across all member countries, “avoiding internal market fragmentation in the future use of this band.”
Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, urged member states to act “swiftly” to implement the new rules, saying, “We all win from faster wireless connections in Europe.”
The European Union aims to have universal broadband coverage of at least 30 Mbps by 2020.
The European Commission is also considering changes to unpaired 2 GHz spectrum in the 1900-1920 MHz and 2010-2025 MHz bands. The spectrum is currently allocated to 3G service but remains unused throughout the European Union.
The commission’s move parallels U.S. efforts to free up spectrum for wireless service. The FCC pledged to free up 300 MHz of spectrum for mobile broadband by 2015 but so far has struggled to meet that goal.