The EC wants the unused spectrum to be used to deal with anticipated growth in mobile data traffic. It exists where signals are switched off because of a service running in certain time frames, or in geographic spaces where networks are not re-using spectrum.
Some member states have already employed strategies to exploit white space, but the EC wants a “coordinated European approach” for spectrum sharing. The Commission thinks that global mobile data traffic will increase 26 percent annually by 2015, yet there is no vacant spectrum left and the cost of re-allocating spectrum to new uses is high.
Neelie Kroes, vice president of the EC responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe said that this wasted space was unacceptable and the region should maximise this scarce resource by re-using it and creating a single market out of it. She thinks that spectrum sharing would ease this strain without compromising license holders’ rights to use their frequencies.
License holders should have an incentive to offer their spectrum. However the licence holders are unlikely to agree while they might get a bit of cash sharing their spectrum when they are not using it they will be giving rivals access to their markets.