Euro Telcos and Broadcasters at Loggerheads over Analogue Airwaves

06 May 2008

BRUSSELS: An alliance of Europe's biggest mobile phone operators has called for a quarter of the analogue radio spectrum to be made available to them as the digital switchover progresses across the continent.

UK-headquartered Vodafone, Spain's Telefonica and France Telecom's Orangewant to use the radio spectrum for wireless broadband services such as e-mail and fast web surfing on mobile phones.

They are heading for a clash with broadcasters, who themselves want to hold on to the analogue spectrum for new services such as high definition television.

The European Broadcasting Union says the mobile operators' demands for a quarter of the spectrum were "a bit high".

Said a spokesman for the lobbyists: "Some of the telecoms operators' assumptions are very optimistic and underestimate the amount of spectrum required for broadcasting which needs to meet audiences' expectations in the future."

European governments are expecting to raise substantial amounts of revenue when the spectrum is auctioned off.

Declares Vodafone director of public policy Richard Feasey: "This spectrum is some of the most important to be released in the last 20 years and will be critical to Vodafone's plans to deploy mobile broadband services in Europe on a truly universal basis."

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff