Down on the (Re)Farm

2:24 PM -- The Guardian ran an excellent article today on spectrum refarming in the U.K. and the controversial storm that regulator Ofcom now has to navigate. Refarming is the term for allowing 2G spectrum at 900 MHz to be used for 3G services. But in the U.K., it's not so simple because there are more licensed 3G operators than 2G operators. (See Ofcom Tackles Spectrum Usage, What Ofcom Giveth..., and 3 Group Seeks Spectrum Compensation.)

France has a similar problem in that the regulator Arcep has to first allocate the remaining 3G license before it can go ahead with its refarming plans. (See France's 3G Giveaway, No 3G License for Free, and Spectrum up for Grabs in Europe.)

Finland is the only country in Europe that allows 3G services over 900 MHz so far. And in November, Elisa Corp. launched the industry's first 3G services over 900 MHz. (See Elisa Launches 900MHz 3G and Ericsson Helps Elisa.) Refarming is important for Europe because it can help operators extend the reach of 3G networks to rural areas and indoors. At 900 MHz, radio signals travel further and penetrate buildings better than at 2100 MHz.

And Unstrung will be covering this year how European regulators sow the seeds for spectrum refarming.

— Michelle Donegan, European Agricultural Editor, Unstrung

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