Which approaches to spectrum policy will work best for 5G? That is the question addressed by a European Commission study published today.
Study on Spectrum Assignment in the European Union was written by PolicyTracker together with LS Telcom and VVA. The report covers 5G services aimed at traditional mobile customers as well as services designed for new industrial sectors, the so-called vertical markets.
The study concluded:
- a variety of authorisation¹ and assignment² approaches are needed to unlock new use cases and to achieve the full benefits of 5G
- countries with an investment-friendly approach to spectrum policy exhibited more positive outcomes for consumers
- a consistent approach amongst all EU Member States would bring additional benefits, namely:
- faster access to spectrum
- a more diverse range of operators
- widespread availability of new services over large geographical areas
The report considers whether 5G services should require licences, like the mobile sector, or be unlicensed like Wi-Fi, or adopt mid-way approaches, often called “light licensing”. It also examined methods of assigning the spectrum to operators, such as the auctioning of licences.
PolicyTracker carried out a range of statistical analyses for the project, examining the relationship between individual spectrum policy inputs and market outcomes as well as taking a grouping approach.
This latter technique found that countries which practiced a group of investment friendly practices when assigning spectrum, namely low reserve prices; well-designed coverage objectives; and long licence lengths exhibited more positive market outcomes, such as wider network roll-out; better quality and choice of services; higher take-up of services and greater competition.
“We are very pleased that the Commission chose PolicyTracker to provide research and statistics to inform their decision making. This data and expertise is available as part of our new Spectrum Research Service which is used by a variety of companies and regulators across the sector.” said Martin Sims, PolicyTracker’s Managing Director.
“The findings of the study will provide additional elements in the context of the ongoing negotiations with the European Parliament and the Council on the Commission Proposal for a “European Electronic Communications Code”, said a spokesperson for the European Commission.•
¹ Authorisation refers to the legal framework under which spectrum can be used e.g whether a licence is required
² Assignment is the way in which a right to use the spectrum is granted e.g. a licence could be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis or via an auction