GSMA argues against shared spectrum licenses

Dylan Bushell-Embling
12 Feb 2014

Shared spectrum allocations are not the answer to the ongoing global spectrum crunch, and could sharply reduce the economic benefits of allocating mobile spectrum, a report commissioned by the GSMA argues.

The report, produced by Deloitte, argues that the limitations associated with licensed shared access (LSA) spectrum allocations can significantly reduce the likelihood of mobile operators to invest in their networks.

Such limitations include shorter license terms, a lack of certainty and smaller spectrum allocations, the report argues.

“The GSMA commends efforts by regulators around the world to rapidly find a solution for the current spectrum crunch,” GSMA Chief Regulatory Officer Tom Phillips said..

“While sharing schemes could provide a complementary approach to ease rapidly growing demand for spectrum, exclusive access to spectrum for mobile use is the optimal regulatory approach, providing the necessary market certainty to stimulate investments in networks and services.”

The report assesses the prospective of two potential licensed shared access scenarios being considered – the release of 50 MHz of 2.3-GHz spectrum in the EU from 2020, and of 100 MHz in the 3.5-GHz band in the US from 2016.

It argues that exclusive licensed spectrum in the 2.3-GHz band could add €86 billion (US $116 billion) to the EU’s economy between 2016 and 2030. But shared licensing could reduce these benefits to €70 billion, or in the worst case scenario to just €5 billion.

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