In the European Union (EU27), 4G-LTE networks currently account for less than 1% of total mobile connections in the region. The lack of digital dividend spectrum allocation in the 800 MHz band is hampering network coverage expansion, says Mobile World Live. The existing spectrum bands used for LTE services (mainly 2600 MHz) do not allow operators to efficiently deploy the new technology outside of the main urban areas.
Under the European Commission’s Radio Spectrum Policy Programme, all 27 EU member states should have made the 800 MHz band available for mobile broadband services by 1 January 2013. However, only nine countries have confirmed that the digital dividend spectrum has already been assigned, with the remaining 18 countries delayed, most requesting policy changes. The delays are hindering LTE network rollouts in these 18 countries, which together represent almost half (48%) of total mobile connections in the EU27 region, says Mobile World Live.
Low LTE adoption rates today is unlikely to change until additional capacity is allocated via digital dividend auctions planned for Q3 this year. Meanwhile, operators will continue to focus on existing HSPA services.