Europe removes wireless barriers

Mobile and wireless computer users could roam seamlessly around Europe after countries adopt a common technical standard established by the European Commission today.

The standard establishes how equipment makers and base stations should communicate within the part of the radio spectrum to become free when analogue TV signals are switched off all over Europe in 2012.

It was feared some countries planned to define differently the way the latest 4G mobile and wireless internet devices would communicate with radio infrastructure. This would have jeopardised plans to create a comms umbrella under which mobile internet users could roam freely across the whole of Europe.

The standard will also make it easier for European mobile companies to compete with companies from countries with large domestic and export markets, like the US and China. The European Commission hoped it would create a single European market for mobile firms by eradicating national technical differences, making it possible for European firms to grow large enough to have clout on the global market.

Dubbed the "digital dividend", the potential economic benefits were estimated to be up to 44 billion Euros, according to analysts commissioned by the Commission.

The Europe-wide closure of analogue television will free up frequencies between 790-862 MHz (known as the 800 MHz band) for use by 4G mobile phones typically using LTE interface standard, and devices using WiMAX wireless internet.

The EC specification can be read here.