The European Commission’s seemingly ill-fated vision for a new Electronic Communications Code could be viewed as a triumph of short-termism; of EU member states being allowed to continue pushing their own narrow interests at the expense of a more connected Europe and of 5G in general (whatever that turns out to be).
But many in Brussels have told PolicyTracker that member states must now work with the Commission and Parliament and make good on their commitments to 5G. Indeed, the EU’s national governments committed to doing that when they met in August and ministers and leaders who keep banging the 5G drum domestically will need to show willing.
What will the compromise on the Electronic Communications Code look like? It could be that member states, who have already accepted a common deadline for the release of the 700 MHz band, can be persuaded that further binding deadlines for the release of spectrum for mobile are worthwhile.
For those convinced of the case for 5G, 3.4-3.8 GHz and 26 GHz – those bands identified by the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) as Europe’s 5G frequencies – would benefit from a harmonised release.
The RSPG is ramping up the sharing of best practices for spectrum auctions, even if it is resistant to participation from operators and other industry players. Meanwhile, CEPT is busy setting technical conditions for the 5G bands.
The bedrock of a harmonised spectrum release platform is in place and it could help with future generations of mobile. The Council needs to concede something in the upcoming discussions with the other European institutions – perhaps this could be it.