The European Commission has proposed that radio frequency spectrum spanning 694 MHz to 790 MHz should be set aside for mobile internet services to improve wireless broadband service delivery.
Part of the EC's 'digital single market' strategy, the move would see 700 MHz spectrum allocated to wireless broadband use in all European Union countries by June 30, 2020.
Presently, the UHF spectrum band from 470 MHz to 790 MHz is used for digital terrestrial television and wireless microphones. Under the EC proposal, the 470 MHz to 694 MHz band would remain available for audiovisual services.
EU member states would need to develop and adopt public plans for 700 MHz network coverage, and also conclude cross-border agreements by the end of 2017.
At the moment only France and Germany have allocated 700 MHz specifically for mobile data. Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the UK intend to repurpose the frequency band for wireless broadband over the coming few years.
The relatively low-frequency 700 MHz spectrum is considered attractive due to its long reach and good building penetration.
Australia and New Zealand have both freed up 700MHz spectrum previously used for broadcasting for wireless broadband.
Telstra, Optus, Spark and Vodafone NZ have all either launched commercial LTE 4G services in the 700 MHz band, or are in advanced trials.