Category Archives: Radiofrequencies

Radio frequencies allow images, sound and information to be transmitted over large distances by radio waves. They are the basis of mobile communications. European companies are among the largest global players in this sector. This success is largely explained by the development of a European GSM technical standard. Around two billion people now use mobile phones complying with the European GSM standard.

In order to support the internal market for wireless services and to promote innovation in electronic communications, the European Union plans to regulate and coordinate the use of the radio spectrum.

Information Society

Information Society

Information Society Contents

  • Current general legal framework: Regulatory framework. Competition.
  • Digital Strategy, i2010 Strategy, eEurope Action Plan, Digital Strategy Programmes: Digital Strategy. I2010 Strategy and eEurope Action Plans. Programmes.
  • Internet, Online activities and ICT standards: Internet and Online activities. Fight against illegal online activities. Network security and information system. Coordination and standardisation.
  • Data protection, copyright and related rights: Data protection. Copyright and related rights in the information society.
  • Radiofrequencies: Mobile communications. Radio spectrum.
  • Interaction of the information society with certain policies: The use of ITC for road safety. The use of ITC for electronic commerce. The use of ITC for payment systems. The use of ITC for research. The use of ITC for public health.
  • Enlargement: Ongoing enlargement. Enlargement of January 2007. Enlargement of May 2004.

See also

Overviews of European Union: Information technology.
Further information: Communications Networks, Contents and Technology Directorate-General of the European Commission.

Roaming on public mobile telephone networks

Roaming on public mobile telephone networks

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Roaming on public mobile telephone networks


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Radiofrequencies

Roaming on public mobile telephone networks

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 717/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2007 on roaming on public mobile communication networks within the Community and amending Directive 2002/21/EC.


In the effort to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market, the European Commission supports a significant reduction in the price consumers pay to make international roaming calls, SMS * and data roaming services. Until now, the structure of the market and the cross-border nature of the services prevented national regulatory authorities from solving the problem of high charges and the sector from regulating itself in a manner beneficial for consumers.

Introduction of a price cap system

After conducting a two-phase public consultation on international roaming, the European Commission chose the “European Home Market Approach”: when subscribers place calls or send an SMS using their mobile phones, they must enjoy similar conditions as in their home country no matter where they are in the EU.

This meant applying identical preventive rate limits throughout the Community for using mobile phones in another Member State, by introducing a mechanism to set maximum per-minute rates that operators may charge one another, with a cap on retail prices established on this basis.

The price cap system is applied by means of the Eurotariff *, which places limits on the rates charged by mobile telephone operators for calls made or received in another Member State.

Operators thus have a single, coherent regulatory framework based on objective criteria. The underlying idea is for retail charges to be closer to the costs associated with providing the service, whilst allowing operators the freedom to compete by differentiating their services. For consumers, the Eurotariff does not entail any associated subscription or other fixed charge, and may be combined with any retail tariff.

The method implemented consists of a combination of wholesale * and retail * price regulation.

  • wholesale charges: the levels of the maximum average wholesale charges are EUR 0.28 and EUR 0.26 since 30 August 2008 and 1 July 2009. It decreased to EUR 0.22 and EUR 0.18 from 1 July 2010 and from 1 July 2011.Wholesale charges also apply to regulated roaming SMS messages. From 1 July 2009, the maximum average wholesale charge cannot exceed EUR 0.04 per SMS.There is also a maximum for the wholesale charge on data roaming services of EUR 1 per sent megabyte. This charge will decrease to EUR 0.80 and EUR 0.50 per megabyte from 1 July 2010 and 1 July 2011 respectively.
  • retail charges: to ensure that the profit generated by the capping of wholesale charges is passed on to consumers, the Regulation also applies a cap for retail charges. The price ceiling for calls made is EUR 0.46 to EUR 0.43 and EUR 0.22 to EUR 0.19 for calls received as from 30 August 2008 and 1 July 2009. It will decrease to EUR 0.39 and EUR 0.35 for calls made and to EUR 0.15 and EUR 0.11 for calls received as from 1 July 2010 and 1 July 2011. Furthermore, operators must apply charges to the second after the first 30 seconds of the call. The retail price of a Eurotariff SMS for a regulated roaming SMS cannot exceed EUR 0.11 from 1 July 2009.

Desire for transparency

Each provider shall automatically, free of charge and without undue delay (by means of an automatic message service) send the customer personalised pricing information on the roaming charges when s/he enters another Member State.

The personalised pricing information shall include the maximum price for making a call, receiving a call, sending an SMS and mobile Internet access during the stay in the other Member State.

Providers must ensure that roaming customers are kept informed of prices applicable to the use of data roaming services so that they can manage their spending better. To this end, from 1 March 2010, consumers will have the option to set a disconnection limit with their operator for data roaming services; once the bill has reached the set limit, the operator will disconnect the data roaming service if the customer does not request the service to be continued. From 1 July 2010 a disconnection limit of EUR 50 will automatically be applied to all customers who have not set a specific limit with their operators.

Implementation and compliance with conditions

The national regulatory authorities, meeting within the European Regulators Group and in collaboration with the Commission, are responsible for enforcing the relevant provisions and for monitoring developments in wholesale and retail charges. The Member States themselves determine the system of sanctions to be applied in the event of an infringement of the Regulation.


In recent years, the telecommunications sector has expanded rapidly, thanks in part to measures at European level to encourage investment. All of the directives adopted in 2002 and their recently adopted amendments have specifically enabled a regulatory framework for electronic communications services to be established. However, the problem of extremely high international roaming charges had not been resolved. It affects all citizens travelling abroad within the EU (for business or personal reasons). These excessive retail prices result both from high wholesale charges levied by the foreign host network operator and, in many cases, from high retail mark-ups charged by the customer’s own network operator. The Regulation on roaming aims to resolve the problems detailed above.

Key terms used in the act
  • “International roaming” means the use of a mobile telephone or other device by a roaming customer to make or receive calls, while outside the Member State in which the customer’s home network is located, by means of arrangements between the operator of the home network and the operator of the visited network.
  • “Eurotariff” means a per-minute roaming charge, for which the Regulation establishes a price ceiling it must not exceed for making and receiving calls abroad, and which is available to all consumers in the European Union.
  • Euro-SMS-price: a roaming price of EUR 0.11 excluding VAT per SMS sent from abroad.
  • “Wholesale charge” means the charge billed by the foreign operator to the home provider of a person who makes or receives calls in the foreign country.
  • “Retail charge” means the charge billed by the home provider of a person who uses his or her mobile telephone on a foreign network. The amount of the charge depends on the wholesale price, plus the cost of the service provided.
  • SMS: a Short Message Service text message.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 717/2007



OJ L 171 of 29.6.2007

Amending act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member State Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 544/2009


OJ L 167 of 29.6.2009

Related Acts

Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (“Framework Directive”) [Official Journal L 108 of 24.04.2002].

Mobile broadband services

Mobile broadband services

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Mobile broadband services


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Radiofrequencies

Mobile broadband services

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 30 June 2004 on mobile broadband services [COM(2004) 447 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


This Communication examines the broader policy and regulatory environment for mobile broadband services. The principal aim is to ensure access to information at all times and in all locations within the European Union and to maintain European leadership in the sector. The Communication indicates how the challenges may be met and, in drawing it up, the Commission consulted widely with industry players through the Mobile Communications and Technology Platform and a workshop on the mobile sector held in June 2004.

EU labour productivity has improved considerably over recent years and this progress has been based to a great extent on electronic communications services, which are essential for Europe’s economic competitiveness. Two trends can be discerned in this sector in Europe:

  • broadband growth of more than 80% in 2003;
  • mobile revenues have overtaken those of fixed telephony.

Looking forward, the convergence of telecommunications, broadcasting and internet will result in the proliferation of high speed multimedia services delivered over mobile networks. For example, mobile users will be able to shop and pay on-line and receive a whole range of audio-visual services such as music and video.

For the Commission, it is vital to overcome the political and technological barriers to achieving the aims that have been set in order to ensure the success of these systems and to prepare the future by means of concerted action at EU level.

Research and innovation

The EU will only maintain its competitive advantage by focussing on innovation. Competitiveness on the world market is based not only on profitability but also on the capacity to innovate. The Commission intends to launch a comprehensive programme of integrated activities to promote cooperation between the major players in the pre-competitive research phase.

There is a growing fragmentation of the mobile and wireless communications market. To prevent this, research must address the entire value chain, from technological development to the development of services, which will require European and then global standards and platforms.

In the context of the preparation of the 7th Framework Programme, the “Mobile Communications and Technology Platform” initiative provides an opportunity to put in place a formal technology platform in the mobile and wireless communications sector. The aim of this structure would be to draw up a strategic research agenda, achieve the necessary critical mass for research and innovation and mobilise substantial public and private funding.

The interoperability of services, content and terminals is critical for achieving the goal of mass market adoption. In the Commission’s opinion, without interoperability, markets could collapse. To prevent fragmentation of the markets for third generation mobile communication systems, interoperability between the various services and terminals is vital.

A number of fora are involved in service specification and standardisation with the aim of providing service interoperability. The cooperation between the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and the Global Certification Forum (GCF) and the agenda of the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) provide a good basis on which to build. However, the increased complexity brought about by a converging environment presents a new challenge that needs to be addressed.

Technical challenges

The Commission aims to stimulate the demand for mobile communications and the development of new services. To do this, it is essential to increase the range and quality of the content available on mobile. There are, however, many obstacles to be overcome, which the Commission hopes to eliminate so as to ensure the fast take-up of mobile services in Europe. The Commission intends to conduct a study on technical and other potential obstacles.

A secure environment for content is crucial for the development of these services. The rights to protected digital content require new business models that guarantee the effective payment of intellectual property rights.

National law applies for determining the compensation to be paid for the reproduction of protected content for private use. In deciding on the level of compensation, the availability of digital rights management systems and services for the distribution of content over mobile communications needs to be taken into consideration.

Legally, the traditional system of territorial licences granted by national rightholders applies for mobile communications. These licences no longer meet the needs of the information society in the enlarged European Union. The Commission is therefore proposing Community licences for mobile content issued using a one-stop-shop mechanism (COM(2004) 261).

The Commission is aiming for greater flexibility in radio spectrum usage in the EU. The Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) is currently reviewing approaches to spectrum management for broadband mobile services. The Group favours a coordinated European approach based on market-oriented solutions and free or “unlicensed” use of spectrum with exclusive usage rights.

The use of mobile phone pre-paid cards as a means of payment to purchase products and services, other than communication services, may be classed as the use of electronic money. Mobile broadband services extend this use of electronic money but, pending the creation of a new legal framework providing for a single EU payment area, mobile operators are faced with uncertainties regarding the current Community rules on electronic money and money laundering (Directive on electronic money).

In the short term, the mobile industry needs an appropriate interim solution that provides a degree of legal certainty. The Commission will lay down criteria for national regulators in applying the Directive. The regulatory authorities should aim to apply only the minimum regulation needed to ensure appropriate coverage of risks for financial stability and consumer protection.

From networks to people

Third generation mobile communications will require a greater number of base stations than previous GSM networks owing to the higher frequency bands used. Problems with obtaining legal authorisation in each of the Member States are hampering the physical deployment of 3G networks. More generally, the Commission takes the view that the health and safety of citizens is adequately protected, provided that exposure of the public remains below EU limits.

The use of personal and sensitive data concerning individuals and companies requires reliable and secure identification and authentication procedures. A common interoperable authentication framework is needed to ensure general purpose authentication across Europe.

International cooperation on research and development is essential. The Commission takes the view that the benefits of open and global standards should be exploited to achieve global interoperability.

Related Acts

Commission Communication of 11 June 2002, Towards the Full Roll-Out of Third Generation Mobile Communications [COM(2002) 301 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Communication summarises the situation in the sector. The roll-out of third generation mobile services (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) or “3G” services) has been slower than expected and is facing a number of difficulties. The Communication also identifies the main challenges that must be overcome so that 3G services can fulfil their role in building a competitive, dynamic information society.

Radio spectrum policy programme

Radio spectrum policy programme

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Radio spectrum policy programme


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Radiofrequencies

Radio spectrum policy programme (Proposal)

8a of Directive 2002/21/EC invites the European Commission to implement a five-year radio spectrum policy programme in order to manage it better.


Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 September 2010 establishing the first radio spectrum policy programme [COM(2010) 471 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


This Proposal aims to put in place a five-year radio spectrum policy programme. This Proposal forms part of a package of measures presented by the European Commission in September 2010 which includes a Communication on broadband and a Recommendation on Next Generation Access networks. This programme sets the parameters of the spectrum required for the functioning of the internal market, both in electronic communications and in other fields such as transport, research and energy.

Programme policy objectives

The objectives of the radio spectrum policy programme are to:

  • make sufficient spectrum available to satisfy growing needs;
  • maximise flexibility in the use of spectrum;
  • enhance the efficient use of spectrum;
  • promote competition between electronic communications services in particular;
  • harmonise the internal market and develop transnational services;
  • avoid interference and disturbances;
  • protect human health.

Enhancing the efficient and flexible use of spectrum

Member States are required to:

  • adopt by 1 January 2013 authorisation and allocation measures appropriate for the development of broadband services, such as allowing, for example, relevant operators direct or indirect access to contiguous blocks of spectrum of at least 10 MHz;
  • foster the collective use of spectrum as well as shared use of spectrum;
  • cooperate to develop harmonised standards for radio equipment and terminals;
  • adopt selection conditions and procedures which promote investment and efficient use of spectrum.

The European Commission shall develop guidelines on authorisation conditions and procedures for spectrum bands concerning infrastructure sharing and coverage conditions in order to avoid over-fragmentation of the internal market.

Promoting competition

In order to ensure fair competition in the market, Member States may adopt the following measures:

  • limiting the amount of spectrum for which rights of use are granted to any economic operator;
  • limiting the granting of new rights of use in certain bands in order to prevent certain economic operators from accumulating too many spectrum frequencies and harming competition;
  • prohibiting transfers of spectrum usage rights;
  • amending the existing rights of certain operators in cases of excessive accumulation, in accordance with Article 14 of Directive 2002/20/EC.

Defining spectrum for wireless broadband communications

Member States shall allocate a sufficient portion of spectrum for all European citizens to have access to broadband by 2020.

Member States shall authorise the use of harmonised bands by 2012 in order to allow consumers easy access to wireless broadband services.

Member States shall make the 800 MHz band (the digital dividend) available for electronic communications services by 2013, allowing for exceptions.

The Commission is invited to adopt measures to ensure that Member States allow trading within the EU of spectrum usage rights in the harmonised bands.

The Commission may ensure the availability of additional spectrum bands for the provision of harmonised satellite services for broadband access.

Responding to specific spectrum needs

In addition to communications, spectrum must be available for the following specific needs:

  • monitoring the Earth’s atmosphere and surface;
  • developing and exploiting space applications;
  • improving transport systems, for example through GALILEO;
  • services related to civil protection;
  • the results of research and development projects.

In order to save energy in spectrum use, the Commission shall conduct studies on creating a low-carbon policy and developing energy-saving technologies.

Creating an inventory of existing uses of and emerging needs for spectrum

The Commission, along with Member States, shall create an inventory of existing spectrum use and of future needs for spectrum with regard to the bands between 300 MHz to 3 GHz. This inventory should provide more transparency and highlight the advantages and disadvantages of spectrum use.

Participating in international negotiations and cooperating with different bodies

The Union shall participate in international negotiations relating to spectrum matters, in accordance with the rules of the Treaty, to defend its interests. In international negotiations, Member States shall ensure that the spectrum required for the development of EU policies is available.

Member States are required to ensure that the international agreements they sign up to are in accordance with EU legislation.

If required, the EU may provide political and technical support to Member States during bilateral negotiations with third countries.

The Commission and Member States must work closely with the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (ECPT), standardisation bodies and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) on technical issues in order to ensure the best use of spectrum outside the EU.


Proposal Official Journal Procedure

COM(2010) 471


World Radiocommunication Conference 2003

World Radiocommunication Conference 2003

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about World Radiocommunication Conference 2003


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Radiofrequencies

World Radiocommunication Conference 2003

Document or Iniciative

Commission communication of 14 April 2003 to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – The World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 [COM(2003) 183 final].


Every three years the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a United Nations agency, holds a World Radiocommunication Conference. The Conference 2003 (WRC-03) was held in Geneva from 9 June to 4 July 2003. The Commission participated as a delegation without voting rights. In this capacity, the Commission will endeavour to support decisions which are in line with relevant Community policies and serve commercial and general interests in the European Union (EU).

Within the ITU, the European authorities negotiate on a national basis. However, insofar as national interests converge on many points, EU Member States have chosen to develop their technical positions together within the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) (1). The development of European technical positions within CEPT will certainly strengthen the EU’s position at WRC-03. However, these positions should also be coordinated at European level, before and after the conference, in accordance with the principles set out in the Community Decision on the radio spectrum.


Information society

Transition to the information society is essential if Europe is to fully benefit from digital technologies and the internet. This is why the Community is encouraging the development of applications and content which will enable all Europeans to be part of the information society. In establishing a new regulatory framework for electronic communications, the EU has moved a step further towards supporting a world-class communications and broadcasting infrastructure.

Audiovisual policy

Audiovisual media play a key role in the transmission of social and cultural values; clear public interests are therefore at issue. For example, broadcasting services must continue to have access to the resources they need, including radio spectrum resources.


The Commission is working on the development of an integrated transport system, including notably maritime safety and air transport. In this context, the objective of the Single European Sky is to optimise air traffic management and air safety in order to satisfy all airspace users. The achievement of this objective essentially depends on the availability of radio spectrum. The satellite navigation programme Galileo is another important element of common transport policy. Like all radio services, in order to operate, Galileo needs a sufficient number of radio spectrum frequencies protected from harmful interference and employable without too many operational constraints.

Coordination of civil protection

The aim of Community cooperation in the field of civil protection is to improve the protection of people, the environment and goods in the event of natural or man-made disasters. In 2001, the Council adopted a decision (Decision 2001/792/EC) establishing a Community mechanism to facilitate reinforced cooperation in civil protection assistance interventions. It is known that the coordination of joint European interventions would be improved by the interoperability of communications equipment fostered by harmonised spectrum.

Single European Space

The Galileo project and the GMES initiative (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) are specific examples of cooperation within the framework of initiatives taken, at European level, in the space sector. An adequate supply of spectrum is clearly essential for a vibrant European space sector.

Research and development

All technologies covered by the WRC are supported by research and development activities. European research funding continues to promote essential fields using wireless technologies. Access to a radio spectrum harmonised at European and world level will remain an essential element of these activities and will be an important objective for research projects.


The WRC-03 agenda included a number of questions relating to Community policies. The main Community objectives were:

  • to maintain frequency allocation acquired at WRC-2000 by IMT-2000 (“International Mobile Telecommunications for the year 2000” – 3rd generation mobile communications) and confirm the conditions of use of the spectrum for the Galileo radionavigation services;
  • to progress towards regionally and globally harmonised frequencies for PPDR (Public Protection and Disaster Relief) system, in order to help rescue and emergency teams communicate with each other;
  • to support the creation of other wireless infrastructures in order to encourage competition for the benefit of consumers – in accordance with the eEurope initiative. In particular, the frequency bands determined at European level for radio local area networks (RLAN) should be harmonised at world level.

Related Acts

Conference results

Commission communication of 19 November 2003 to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Results of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) [COM(2003) 707 – Not published in the Official Journal]

At the end of the Conference, the Commission stressed the positive results of the negotiations since, from a Community standpoint, the main objectives of WRC-03 had been achieved. The harmonisation at world level of the conditions of use of RLAN broadband systems and the long term protection of the Galileo satellite navigation system were among the most notable successes.

This communication presents a detailed analysis of the decisions and:

  • highlights the effects of the results of the Conference on EU policies;
  • assesses the extent to which the EU’s objectives for WRC-03 have been achieved;
  • defines the type of regulatory measures the EU should take as a follow-up to WRC-03;
  • examines Community interests which could be at stake at the next conference (WRC-07);
  • analyses the negotiating process at WRC-03.

Implementing measures

Some WRC-03 results require work to begin on implementing measures, notably concerning harmonisation of the availability and conditions of use of the radio spectrum. Some work had already begun before WRC-03. Action will be taken on the basis of the mechanisms provided for in Decision 676/2002/EC (“Radio Spectrum Decision”), involving consultation of the Radio Spectrum Committee (RSC) and associating CEPT expertise. The Radio Spectrum Policy Group has been asked to help establish the link between various Community policy objectives and the main guidelines for Community radio spectrum policy.


World Radiocommunications Conference 2000

World Radiocommunications Conference 2000

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about World Radiocommunications Conference 2000


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Radiofrequencies

World Radiocommunications Conference 2000 (WRC-2000)

To initiate a political discussion in the European Parliament and Council on the Community interests at stake at the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC-2000), in the light of the results of the 1997 World Radiocommunications Conference, and to ensure appropriate involvement of all interested parties in the preparatory process.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on radio frequency requirements for Community policies in the context of the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC-2000) [COM(98) 298 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

A vast array of radiocommunications techniques and services has become vital to the European economy, consumers and public safety. They provide essential links in public and private telecommunications networks; they assure efficient, safe transport by sea, air and land; they broadcast information services and entertainment; they allow weather forecasting and help to fight pollution and to perform many other functions needed by modern society. The point which these radiocommunications services have in common is that they compete for the use of scarce radio spectrum resources.

Decisions on which type of services may use which frequencies, and under what conditions, are taken at World Radiocommunications Conferences (WRCs) which are organised under the auspices of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and in which all 15 Member States of the European Union participate. The last WRC was held in 1997 and took important decisions on mobile and satellite communications, broadcasting and satellite radionavigation and aeronautical services. The next WRC will be held in March 2000.

The context for WRCs has changed considerably from being a forum for discussing primarily technical matters in the past, to one where economic and political forces, driven by liberalisation, competition, globalisation and technological innovation in the communications and information sectors, have become decisive for the frequency allocation decisions to be taken.

At Community level, the implementation of a number of common policies depends on the availability of the frequencies needed, as in the case of mobile and satellite communications, broadcasting, aeronautical and satellite radionavigation services and Earth observation.

The Member States do not wish to give the Community the role of developing common Community positions or negotiating at WRCs on their behalf. In view of the changing WRC context, however, there is a growing need to provide political support for the WRC positions, taking into account that diverging views among WRC negotiating parties as regards frequency harmonisation are normally based on a diverging political assessment of radiocommunications systems of commercial and general interest. This could become evident, for instance, if Europe were to request further frequencies for the development of third-generation mobile communications (UMTS) which other countries could oppose due to the national focus on satellite communications (notably in the USA) or to difficulties with phasing out or relocating existing systems (in the developing countries). Frequencies for aeronautical and radionavigation services may be needed to satisfy demand for both commercial and public interest applications, depending on national requirements and priorities, and taking into account claims by commercial mobile satellite operators. Effective political backing for the technical positions worked out is therefore essential to achieve good results at the WRC and for appropriate technical and political representation of Community interests in contact with the Community’s main trading partners. The Community, represented by the Commission, could be instrumental in this regard, provided the Member States themselves provide political support for the WRC positions worked out.

Coordination of the Member States’ positions in CEPT for the 1995 and 1997 WRCs generally led to results allowing further development of Europe’s radiocommunications market. For WRC-97, the 43 CEPT countries signed about 300 European common proposals (ECPs) for the 50 items on the agenda, most of which were adopted by the Conference. However, notwithstanding the satisfactory support from the European countries for the common European positions presented at WRC-97, very controversial issues could not be settled on the basis of technical positions alone, as was the case with respect to satellite broadband services, aeronautical and satellite-radionavigation services and Earth observation. The Community policy framework for satellite and mobile communications, which includes close consultation and coordination with industry and representative organisations, allows for precise translation of the relevant Community policies into frequency requirements to be negotiated at WRCs. However, in the case of the other policies mentioned, such consultation and coordination is not always apparent, with the risk that commercial telecommunications interests could have a stronger position for obtaining frequencies.

In accordance with the Council conclusions of 22 September 1997, which were adopted on the basis of the Commission communication to the European Parliament and the Council on WRC-97, the European Commission will be involved in WRC-2000 with the following objectives:

  • ensure compliance of the European positions for the WRC with relevant Community policies both prior to and at the Conference;
  • encourage European industry to propose radiocommunications initiatives and involve industry and other relevant players and organisations in the development of European positions on, inter alia, mobile and satellite communications, broadcasting, aeronautical services, radionavigation and Earth observation;
  • maintain and establish contacts with third countries and regions in order to obtain their support for European objectives and to achieve a certain level of approximation of proposals before the start of the Conference;
  • strengthen the negotiating position of Europe at the WRC and achieve results which are to the benefit of the European economy and its citizens.

It is necessary, however, to address these objectives in a general review of spectrum policy in the Community, where frequency requirements are examined as part of a European long-term strategic spectrum plan striking a balance between commercial and general interests, based on wide consultations with all interested parties and endorsed at political level and allowing the production of European positions for WRCs.

4) Follow-Up Work

Communication of 19 November 2003 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Results of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) [COM(2003) 707].

This communication reports a positive outcome to the negotiations, since from the Community’s point of view the main objectives of WRC-03 have been achieved. The most notable successes include worldwide harmonisation of the conditions for using broadband RLAN systems and long-term protection of the Galileo satellite navigation system.


Third-generation mobile communications

Third-generation mobile communications

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Third-generation mobile communications


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Radiofrequencies

Third-generation mobile communications

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication of 11 June 2002: “Towards the full roll-out of third generation mobile communications” [COM (2002) 301 final – not published in the Official Journal].



Third-generation mobile services (UMTS or “3G”) are only gradually becoming a commercial reality in Europe. Their roll-out – initially expected in 2002 – is taking place more slowly than originally planned and the great expectations associated with their introduction contrast starkly with the difficulties facing the sector.

This communication provides an overview of the situation in the 3G sector and examines the main challenges posed by the deployment of 3G services from a financial, technical, commercial and regulatory perspective. It also looks at the various lines of action being taken to support the deployment process and enable the Union to remain at the leading edge of technological progress, as recommended by the eEurope 2005 action plan.


The roll-out of 3G services entails a complex interaction between different players: users, manufacturers, operators and software/content providers. Moreover, this divergent web of interests is highly dependent on general economic, technological and service trends, because of the wide range of activities resulting from the anticipated broad service range on offer. In this respect, the roll-out of 3G services will be far more complex than the deployment of the second generation (2G) of mobile communications.

A financial factor

The telecommunications market is still performing better than the general economy, with market growth of around 10% in 2001, to which the mobile sector contributed 40%. Despite this encouraging performance, the sector has nevertheless been facing increased pressure from the financial markets. Recently, operators in fact decided to make huge investments – notably in acquiring market shares and in future businesses such as 3G – leading to a sharp increase in their debt level and consequently a downgrading of their credit ratings.

The availability of investment funds was therefore significantly reduced, at a time when the physical roll-out of networks required significant financial resources. In this difficult financial environment, operators have had to give priority to re-balancing their finances. Logically, this trend has negatively affected the 3G roll-out.

A technological factor

Technical difficulties relating to 3G technology have been reported, particularly dropped calls, glitches in the terminal software and insufficient battery capacity. However, these technical difficulties are normal when introducing new products of considerable technological innovation.

Compared with 2001, considerable progress has been made as far as handsets are concerned, with the transition from prototypes to the development of the first 3G models ready to be marketed on the European market. Moreover, several manufacturers have announced the launch of 3G terminals with a “dual-mode” capability (2G + 3G) for the second half of 2002. This type of terminal will be essential for European consumers who are accustomed to a 2G service environment, especially since 3G coverage is expected to grow only gradually.

A regulatory factor

At the beginning of 2002, all the Member States had finalised or at least started 3G licensing procedures, as foreseen under the European Union’s regulatory framework. The 3G licensing procedures revealed various trends:

  • four Member States (France, Belgium, Greece and Luxembourg) did not succeed in attracting a sufficient number of interested parties to issue all available licences. In these Member States, part of the amount of spectrum made available for 3G therefore remains unused;
  • the roll-out obligations came under scrutiny in those countries where early coverage obligations proved to be incompatible with the availability of equipment or the realistic possibility for operators to roll out networks. In the case of Spain, Portugal and Belgium, this led to the deadlines for the roll-out of networks being postponed;
  • in other Member States (Sweden and Finland), operators complied with roll-out obligations, albeit by setting up minimal network configurations used for experimental purposes rather than for a commercial service.


The Commission identifies three lines of action to support the 3G services sector and to demonstrate its commitment to achieving the goal of a full roll-out of 3G.

Stability of the regulatory environment

The mechanisms of the new Community regulatory framework are adapted to evolving markets and technology. They should therefore promote the creation of a supportive environment for the roll-out of 3G.

The Member States will be responsible for ensuring essential adaptations to licensing conditions as well as the clarification of regulatory aspects relevant to new trends (such as network infrastructure sharing).

Short- or medium-term measures

A certain number of difficulties have been identified in the short or medium term, in respect of which a proactive, supporting or stimulating role at Community level is seen as beneficial.

Operators face considerable difficulties when deploying the physical networks. Obtaining the authorisation for installing base stations has become a real challenge in a number of Member States, and there is a risk that this will impact on the planned roll-out schedule and increase costs.

These difficulties are due to environmental concerns relating to the installation of new 3G masts, as well as to the uncertain consequences on health of electromagnetic emissions from base stations. Longstanding efforts have been taken at EU level to protect the health of 3G users and to harmonise the levels of emissions considered as safe. Nevertheless, this harmonisation at Member State level is taking a long time, which is not only hampering the sector but also creating confusion for consumers.

At the same time, the Commission has undertaken to develop technical specifications for safe mobile equipment. These specifications, which are already available in the form of harmonised standards for mobile terminals, are in the process of being finalised for base stations. The Commission reiterates that scientific research has shown that the normal use of mobile equipment which complies with the existing safety exposure limits does not seem to have adverse health effects.

Moreover, the Commission attaches great importance to continued research efforts to accompany the current development of 3G services and their future evolution. Some of the activities carried out under the Sixth Framework Programme for research will therefore be useful in the roll-out of 3G services. Finally it will be necessary for the Commission to identify the new regulatory obstacles relating to the introduction of 3G services. For example, the anticipated use of mobile terminals and in particular 3G services for micro-payments has raised the question of the extent to which regulation applicable to the banking sector is relevant to the mobile sector.

Long-term measures

Community action plays an important role in ensuring the timely and effective availability of harmonised spectrum bands for 3G operations. In this context, the Commission has already launched a planning process with a view to making sufficient radio spectrum resources available.

A more flexible framework for handling rights of use of spectrum is necessary in order to promote investment in the radiocommunications sector. Using the mechanisms provided for by the Radio Spectrum Decision, the Commission plans to establish a dialogue with industry and national regulators on secondary trading of radio spectrum and its implications. This dialogue would focus in particular on the harmonisation of spectrum trading conditions and the timetable for implementing these harmonised conditions in the Member States.


The Commission concludes that it is best to let the market drive the process and to allow a competitive environment to generate new products. Nevertheless, public authorities can contribute to the creation of a climate of confidence by ensuring a predictable and stable regulatory environment.

In the immediate future, they can facilitate the physical deployment of networks by harmonising conditions and accelerating procedures. In the longer run, harmonisation in licensing conditions and assignment would avoid market distortions and uncertainty in the sector.

Related Acts

Commission Communication of 30 June 2004: “Mobile broadband services” [COM (2004) 447 final – not published in the Official Journal].
Technological and regulatory barriers are threatening European leadership in mobile broadband services and this communication looks at the challenges to be overcome in establishing a policy and regulatory framework for the sector’s development.

Commission Communication of 3 February 2004: “Connecting Europe at high speed: recent developments in the sector of electronic communications” [COM (2004) 61 final – not published in the Official Journal].
This communication stresses the need for long-term political support to promote the effective use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) within the European Union, and identifies measures designed to remove obstacles to additional investment.

Next steps in radio spectrum policy

Next steps in radio spectrum policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Next steps in radio spectrum policy


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Radiofrequencies

Next steps in radio spectrum policy

To contribute to establishment of a Community framework for radio spectrum policy which is responsive to radiocommunications developments and supports Europe’s competitive position on the global market. The fundamental objective is that this Community framework should be accessible and transparent and provide certainty for all for whom the radio spectrum is a vital resource.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 10 November 1999 on the next steps in radio spectrum policy – results of the public consultation on the Green Paper [COM(1999) 538 final – not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

Radio appliances such as television sets, radios and mobile phones work by propagating electromagnetic waves between a transmitter and a receiver. The “radio spectrum” means all the possible frequencies which these waves could have. The “frequency” is the number of times a wave oscillates in a second, and by tuning a radio receiver to a specific frequency a specific signal can be picked up. Frequency bands define the specific location of services in the radio spectrum.

The environment for radio spectrum policy is undergoing far-reaching changes as a result of technological progress and adaptation of the market and regulations. Development of this sector has the potential to stimulate economic growth, create employment and promote general welfare. At the same time, a balance must be struck between the needs of new commercial networks and the non-economic benefits to society of non-commercial applications such as defence, public service broadcasting, emergency services and radio astronomy.

In December 1998 the Commission published a Green Paper to launch a public debate to see whether the present practice of radio spectrum policy meets the Community’s strategic objectives.

These policy objectives include:

  • to facilitate technological innovation and competition in radiocommunications, mobile telephony and wireless local networks;
  • to pursue Community objectives with regard to the radio spectrum within a predictable and legally certain regulatory framework;
  • to ensure an appropriate balancing of the interests of the individual Member States, of the European Community and of the different user communities; and
  • to safeguard the Community’s interests in the international negotiations on the radio spectrum.


Following the publication of the Green Paper on radio spectrum policy, the Commission sought the views of the public at large on a large number of complex issues. Contributions were received from the communications sector, broadcasters, businesses, researchers and the authorities responsible for radio spectrum management. Two hearings were held in 1999. These gave the Commission an opportunity to identify the central issues in the ongoing debate on radio spectrum policy and management.


General picture

Use of the radio spectrum needs to be planned strategically to allow investment and regulatory decisions to be taken. The vast majority of the communications interests and regulatory authorities supported the strategic planning process at international level under the auspices of the ITU/WRC (International Telecommunications Union and its World Radiocommunications Conference). Small firms and non-communications interests stressed how difficult it was for them to gain access to the planning process.

Often the spectrum is used for services in the general interest. Policy decisions therefore have to be taken, even if they do not fall strictly within the scope of radio spectrum management. The differing political, cultural and market situations in the Member States make it extremely difficult to achieve political agreement.

Opinions of the sectors

The communications sector called for reallocation of radio frequencies and suggested that part of the radio spectrum currently reserved for government or public uses should be transferred to the communications sector so that it could obtain additional radio spectrum for its activities.

The broadcasting sector is preparing for the changeover from analogue to digital transmission. This means more frequencies will be needed. In addition, in the longer term the sector expects that a substantial increase in frequencies will be necessary to develop new multimedia services and for special interest channels.

The transport sector considers strategic planning a long-term exercise since it takes lengthy preparations to introduce systems with long life cycles. Long-term planning would therefore require a process of negotiating international agreements in order to deploy internationally compatible transport networks and safeguard critical communications.


General picture

Harmonisation of radio spectrum allocation offers numerous advantages: economies of scale, lower costs, lower consumer prices, interoperability, etc.

The respondents were divided on the need for harmonisation. Some believed in complete harmonisation, while others were more hesitant. Ultimately, it seems that the need for harmonisation, particularly for cross-border services, should be decided case by case. The criteria to be used to decide in which circumstances harmonisation is required remain to be decided. The harmonisation process must be open, transparent and responsive to the interests of existing and potential users.

Again, the respondents mentioned the need for policy decisions laying the foundation for harmonisation and striking a fair balance between private and public interests for use of the same frequency bands.

Opinions of the sectors

The communications sector saw harmonisation of radio spectrum allocation as crucial for the provision of seamless pan-European services.

The broadcasting sector also considered this issue important, but less urgent than suggested by the communications sector.

The transport sector in turn considered harmonisation of radio spectrum allocation essential since transport networks were increasingly taking on pan-European or global dimensions.


General picture

It was generally considered that allocation of radio frequencies between users should respond to local and national needs and was therefore best carried out at national level. The fact that the amount of radio spectrum available for certain services varies from one country to another could therefore be accepted. However, the differing licensing conditions and lack of single licences to provide services throughout the Community were criticised as particularly burdensome. It was agreed that assignment and licensing procedures and conditions in the Community must take due account of international commitments, particularly in the area of trade.

The national regulatory authorities were generally in favour of charging for access to the radio spectrum, which could make assignment decisions easier whenever there was a shortage of radio spectrum and encourage efficient usage thereof. However, views diverged on which assignment and licensing mechanism is best in which circumstances.

Opinions of the sectors

The communications sector acknowledged that radio spectrum assignment and licensing should be decided as close to the market as possible. Such harmonisation would favour development and internationalisation of the market. The sector was in favour of charging for access provided a level playing field was established to make sure that users in the same sector were subject to the same requirements.

The broadcasting sector was opposed to the introduction of charges for access. The transport sector also felt that charging was inappropriate in the case of services in the public interest.


General picture

According to the Member States and the communications sector it was simply necessary to improve the institutional framework for radio spectrum coordination. However, some respondents said that the ITU/WRC (for spectrum management at world level), the CEPT (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations for spectrum management at regional level) and the national regulatory authorities put the interests of the communications sector first.

Opinions of the sectors

The communications sector suggested improving rather than replacing the current arrangements for radio spectrum management.

The broadcasting and transport sectors considered that commercial and non-commercial uses were so incompatible that a political decision was needed.


Most respondents felt that use of the radio spectrum should be technology-neutral but that standardisation was necessary in order to provide European consumers with seamless services and uniform, interoperable equipment.

According to the manufacturers, radio spectrum harmonisation would further benefit from the liberalised regime for placing on the market and use of radio and telecommunications terminal equipment put in place by the Directive.


On analysis of the responses received to the questions posed in the Green Paper, the European Commission has identified the following areas where Community action is required:

  • addressing radio spectrum policy issues at Community level, by setting up an expert group to help the Commission to decide Community priorities on harmonisation of radio spectrum use;
  • establishment of a regulatory framework for Community radio spectrum policy by adopting a European Parliament and Council decision providing for the CEPT to draft technical harmonisation measures in response to Community requirements and ensuring proper implementation of these measures by the Member States;
  • ensuring the availability of information;
  • safeguarding Community interests in the ITU/WRC by building on the coordination between the Member States within the CEPT;
  • safeguarding the Community’s interests in the context of international trade;
  • improving radio spectrum management by the CEPT and the way the CEPT works.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work

Decision 676/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the European Community (Radio Spectrum Decision) [Official Journal L 108, 24.04.2002].

The purpose of the Decision is to set up a policy framework for radio spectrum use, taking into account the economic, cultural, scientific and social aspects of Community policies, as well as considerations of security, public interest and freedom of expression. The objective is also to establish a legal framework to ensure harmonised conditions with respect to the availability and efficient use of radio spectrum.


Regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy

Regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Radiofrequencies

Regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 676/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the European Community (Radio Spectrum Decision)


The objective of this Decision is to establish a policy framework for the use of the radio spectrum, taking account of the economic, cultural, scientific and social aspects of Community policy, as well as considerations of security, public interest and freedom of expression. The Decision is also aimed at establishing a legal framework to ensure that the conditions for the availability and effective use of the radio spectrum are harmonised. The final objective is to protect the interests of the European Community in international negotiations on the use of the spectrum.

Radio waves are electromagnetic waves propagated in space without artificial guide. More specifically, the radio spectrum includes radio waves with frequencies of between 9 kHz and 3000 GHz. This Decision therefore governs the allocation of all radio and wireless communication frequencies (including GSM, UMTS, etc.) in so far as they support the achievement of a well-functioning internal market.

The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) is an organisation for inter-governmental technical cooperation which currently includes 46 European countries.. It carries out studies and technical work to fix parameters which allow different applications to use radio frequencies without causing interference to other applications.

Tasks of the Radio Spectrum Committee

In defining, developing and implementing Community radio spectrum policy, the European Commission is assisted by the “Radio Spectrum Committee”, which is made up of representatives of the Member States and is chaired by a representative of the Commission.

The Committee examines the Commission’s proposals on technical implementing measures to harmonise conditions for the availability and use of the radio spectrum. It is also responsible for issuing opinions on the mandates issued by the Commission to the CEPT on the harmonisation of radio frequency allocation and the availability of information relating to the use of the spectrum.

Role of the Commission

The Commission decides whether the results of the work carried out pursuant to the mandates will apply in the Community and on the deadline for their implementation by the Member States. These decisions must be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The Commission may adopt measures to achieve the objectives of a mandate issued to the CEPT if it or any Member State considers that the work carried out on the basis of a mandate is not progressing satisfactorily or if the results of the mandate are not deemed acceptable.

If necessary, on the basis of a reasoned request by the Member State concerned, the Commission may approve transitional periods or radio spectrum sharing arrangements in a Member State, provided such exception would not unduly defer implementation or create undue differences in the competitive or regulatory situations between Member States.

Availability and confidentiality of information

Member States must ensure that their national radio frequency allocation table and information on rights, conditions, procedures, charges and fees concerning the use of radio spectrum, are published. Member States may not, however, disclose information covered by the obligation of business confidentiality, in particular information about undertakings, their business relations or their cost components.


The Decision follows several specific Community initiatives, in particular concerning 2nd generation mobile telephone services (GSM Directive), wireless digital telecommunications (DECT Directive) and 3rd generation mobile telephone services – UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System).

Radio frequencies are allocated by international bodies, particularly the World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) of the International telecommunication Union (ITU) and, in Europe, by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT). Through this Decision, the European Union also intends to play a role in this field under the framework of the EC Treaty. It should also be noted at the same time that European regulations with regard to electronic communications adopted in 2002 included, for the first time, certain aspects concerning the management of the radio spectrum in their field of application.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 676/2002/EC

24.2. 2002

OJ L 108 of 24.4.2002

Related Acts


Commission Communication of 6 September 2005: ‘A Forward-looking radio spectrum policy for the European Union: Second annual report’ [COM(2005) 411 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
In this communication the Commission presents a new EU strategy for achieving optimum use of the radio spectrum in Europe. The new strategy advocates more flexible access to the spectrum in order to give market players greater freedom to exploit its resources. To this end, the Commission proposes that, by 2010, exclusive usage rights for sizeable sections of the radio spectrum be made negotiable under rules common to the whole EU.

Commission Communication of 20 July 2004: ‘First annual report on radio spectrum policy in the European Union – State of implementation and outlook’ [COM(2004) 507 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
This first implementation report on the Radio Spectrum Decision states that implementation of the Decision has so far been successful. The institutional structure has been put in place, a policy mechanism adopted, and technical implementing measures developed to ensure legal certainty for spectrum harmonisation.

The report highlights the main challenges facing the Commission in its mission to ensure that the radio spectrum is used in an effective manner. It stresses that the implementation of the Radio Spectrum Decision, in partnership with the other actors in this field, should enable the Commission to continue to meet these challenges in the future.


Commission Decision 2004/545/EC of 8 July 2004 on the harmonisation of radio spectrum in the 79 GHz range for the use of automotive short-range radar equipment in the Community [Official Journal L 241 of 13.7.2008].

Commission Decision 2005/50/EC of 17 January 2005 on the harmonisation of the 24 GHz range radio spectrum band for the time-limited use by automotive short-range radar equipment in the Community [Official Journal n° L 21 of 25.1.2008].

Commission Decision 2005/513/EC of 11 July 2005 on the harmonised use of radio spectrum in the 5 GHz frequency band for the implementation of wireless access systems including radio local area networks (WAS/RLANs) [Official Journal n° L 187, 19.7.2005]

See consolidated version .

Commission Decision 2005/928/CE of 20 December 2005, on the harmonisation of the 169.4-169.8125 MHz frequency band in the Community [Official Journal L 344 of 27.12.2005].

Amended by:
Decision 2008/673/EC [Official Journal L 220 of 15.8.2008].

Commission Decision 2006/771/EC of 9 November 2006 on harmonisation of the radio spectrum for use by short-range devices [Official Journal L 312 of 11.11.2006].
See consolidated version .

Commission Decision 2006/804/EC of 23 November 2006 on harmonisation of the radio spectrum for radio frequency identification (RFID) devices operating in the ultra high frequency (UHF) band [Official Journal L 329 of 25.11.2006].

Commission Decision 2007/98/EC of 14 February 2007 on the harmonised use of radio spectrum in the 2GHz frequency bands for the implementation of systems providing mobile satellite services [Official Journal L 43 of 15.2.2007].

Commission Decision 2007/131/EC of 21 February 2007 on allowing the use of the radio spectrum for equipment using ultra-wideband technology in the Community [Official Journal L 55 of 23.2.2007].

Amended by:
Commission Decision 2009/343/EC [Official Journal L 105of 25.5.2009].

Commission Decision 2007/344/EC of 16 May 2007 on harmonised availability of information regarding spectrum use within the Community [Official Journal L 129 of 17.5.2007].

Commission Decision 2008/294/EC of 7 April 2008 on authorisation of mobile communication services on aircraft (MCA services) in the European Community [Official Journal L 98 of 10.4.2008].

Commission Decision 2008/411/EC of 21 May 2008 on the harmonisation of the 3400-3800 MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communications services in the Community [Official Journal L 144 of 4.6.2008].

Commission Decision 2008/477/EC of 13 June 2008 on the harmonisation of the 2500-2690 MHz frequency band for terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communications services in the Community [Official Journal L 163 of 24.6.2008].

Commission Decision 2008/671/EC of 5 August 2008 on the harmonised used of radio spectrum in the 5875-5905 MHz frequency band for safety-related applications of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) [Official Journal L 220 of 15.8.2008].


Commission Decision No 2002/622/EC of 26 July 2002 establishing a Radio Spectrum Policy Group [Official Journal L 198 of 24.7.2002].
This Decision establishes a consultative group, the Radio Spectrum Policy Group, to assist and advise the Commission on radio spectrum policy issues (such as radio spectrum availability and use, harmonisation and allocation of frequencies, the issue of rights to use the spectrum, and pricing, etc.).
See consolidated version .


Commission Decision 2010/166/EC of 19 March 2010 on harmonised conditions of use of radio spectrum for mobile communication services on board vessels (MCV services) in the European Union [Official Journal n° L 72, 20.3.2010].

Radio local area networks

Radio local area networks

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Radio local area networks


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Radiofrequencies

Radio local area networks (Wi-Fi networks)

Document or Iniciative

Commission Decision 2005/513/EC of 11 July 2005 on the harmonised use of radio spectrum in the 5 GHz frequency band for the implementation of wireless access systems including radio local area networks (WAS/RLANs).


This Decision increases the possibilities for access to radio local area networks in a single, open and competitive market for wireless access systems (Wi-Fi networks).

Access to this spectrum on the basis of harmonised rules will bring down the cost of equipment and alleviate the growing overloading of the spectrum already used to this end. This will facilitate the adoption of wireless systems in both the private and public sectors, both for company networks and for hotspot access points in public places, shopping centres, hotels, etc.

Availability of frequency bands

Member States are obliged to make two specific frequency bands (5150-5350 MHz and 5470-5725 MHz) available for wireless access systems in all EU states.

Mitigation of interference

The decision introduces power limits and mitigation techniques to prevent harmful interference between radio local area networks and other users of the radio spectrum (particularly military radar and satellite services).


This decision forms part of the i2010 initiative promoting growth and employment in the digital economy.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2005/513/EC



Official Journal L 187 of 19.7.2005

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2007/90/EC


Official Journal L 41 of 13.2.2007

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2002/622/EC of 26 July 2002 establishing a Radio Spectrum Policy Group [Official Journal L 198 of 24.07.2002].
This decision establishes an advisory group, called the Radio Spectrum Policy Group, which is responsible for assisting and advising the Commission on radio spectrum policy issues.

Decision No 676/2002/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 7 March 2002 on a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the European Community (radio spectrum Decision) [Official Journal L 108 of 24.04.2002].
This decision establishes a legal framework in the Community to harmonise and rationalise the use of radio spectrum in the EU.