The European Commission will invest 50 million in research to support the development of 5th generation (5G) mobile telecoms networks by 2020, Neelie Kroes, the commissioner for the Digital Agenda, announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on 26 February. Kroes took the opportunity to call on member states to free up the radio spectrum for 4th generation (4G) networks in line with EU regulation.

Kroes said that Europe had been at the forefront of wireless technology, having invented the GSM standard and led in the field of devices. She spoke of her disappointment that Europe was now lagging behind. Indeed, more contracts are taken out with 4G mobile telecoms networks in South Korea than in the entire European Union. The Commission bemoans the fact that 17 member states still do not have this technology, which offers faster internet connections. Yet, on 14 March 2012, the EP and the Council adopted a decision establishing a multiannual radio spectrum policy programme (Decision 243/2012/EU), which makes it mandatory for member states to free up the 800 megahertz frequency band for wireless high-speed broadband from 1 January 2013.

Moreover, the 2,000 MHz frequency band will be freed up by 2015 for mobile data traffic. "But on average national governments have only awarded 65% of the spectrum we have...

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