European Commission warns of poor 4G coverage in Europe

Published:  31 Jul at 6 PM
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Expats heading for a life in the sun in Europe and expecting to make use of their tablets and smart phones are in for a shock, according to a European Commission report.

The EC survey reported that three out of every four EU residents are unable to access 4G/LTE mobile connections, with those living in rural areas having less chance than those in towns and cities. The sad situation compares badly with that in the USA, where 90 per cent of the population has 4G access.

According to EC vice-president Neelie Kroes, even she can only get 3G in Brussels, and it’s a source of endless frustration as her smartphone stops working frequently. Ireland, Malta and Cyprus are still on 3G, and the whole of Europe has just 5 per cent of the global 4G connections and subscriptions.

This, according to Croes, is now way to run a giant economy, adding that the EU is teetering on the clifftop of network collapse as mobile traffic grows globally by around 66 per cent a year. Without vastly extended bandwidth, she says, everything will fall apart.

A major problem is the lack of an EU-wide strategy, impossible at present as spectrums are allocated nationally. The expense of auctions leaves winning mobile network operators with less cash than is necessary to roll out the service.

At the present time, investment in infrastructure is down due to continuing economic woes, with operators in the sector experiencing financial difficulties and overloaded with debt. Consequently, the EC is looking to begin consultations on coordination of spectrum licensing.

Hopefully, its intervention will lead to economies of scale through the rolling out of 4G across several countries in the same spectrum band. This would make 4G more available more quickly, giving expats and citizens across Europe the service they need.

Articled edited 02/08/2013
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Comments » There are 2 comments

Matthew Park wrote 10 years ago:

A useful article, just a shame about the typos calling Neelie Kroes a man. wrote 10 years ago:

Thanks for the heads up Matthew! Corrected.

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