Thursday, November 25, 2010

Spectrum - GSM Assn argues for harmonisation of policies in Asia Pacific, claiming large potential benefits

[gsma] The GSMA today unveiled new independent research that highlights the positive impact harmonised spectrum allocation for mobile could have on the Asia Pacific region. The report*, released by the GSMA and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), states that if governments allocate the 700 MHz band for Mobile Broadband deployment, it would bring much greater economic and social benefits to Asia Pacific than if allocated for services such as broadcasting. These benefits include a $729 billion increase in GDP for Asia Pacific countries by 2020, more than two million newly-created jobs across the region, and a $131 billion increase in tax revenues.

"Asia Pacific is a leading mobile market capable of driving large economies of scale and now has the opportunity to play a pivotal role in setting the standards for spectrum harmonisation," said Tom Phillips, Chief Government & Regulatory Affairs Officer, GSMA. "By allocating the 700 MHz band to mobile, Asia Pacific countries could enjoy significant socio-economic benefits and provide millions of people with low-cost mobile services essential for their needs, such as Internet connectivity, especially in rural areas, and much needed access to education, financial and health services. Non-harmonisation of the 700 MHz band will significantly reduce these benefits for the entire region, so it's imperative that governments and regulators take a coordinated approach to spectrum allocation."

"The unprecedented amount of spectrum freed up in the switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial television, known as the 'digital dividend', is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Vaishali Rastogi, Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group. "The evidence from our research in Asia Pacific overwhelmingly suggests that the socio-economic benefits of allocating the 700 MHZ band to mobile will far outweigh alternatives such as broadcasting."

Harmonisation of the 700 MHz band will ensure that Asia Pacific countries use the same frequency to deploy Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the next-generation Mobile Broadband technology. Deploying LTE in this band will drive large economies of scale and reduce capital and equipment costs for providers, accelerating the roll out of networks and lowering costs for consumers. It will also provide significant social benefits, particularly in rural areas not served by fixed broadband, such as improved access to education, the availability of new financial and health services, the wider use of e-government tools and improved interactions between governments, businesses and consumers. LTE in the 700 MHz band will also improve indoor availability of Mobile Broadband in urban areas.

The report states, however, there are two conditions that are essential for fulfilling the unique opportunity Mobile Broadband could provide the Asia Pacific region. These are:

* All Asia Pacific countries should allocate the 700 MHz band to Mobile Broadband deployment and services.
* All Asia Pacific countries should implement the same technical specifications (the Asia Pacific Telecommunity's (ATP) 2 x 45 MHz band plan for the 700 MHz band) to achieve harmonisation and ensure that every country and its consumers benefit from economies of scale and lower equipment and handset costs.

Spectrum Harmonisation for Mobile Crucial for Socio-Economic Development across Asia Pacific, says GSMA

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