European Union (EU) telecoms ministers on Monday approved legislation to open 900 MHz radio frequencies to third-generation (3G) mobile services in addition to existing GSM (Global System for Mobile) access technologies such as mobile phones.
The new legislation is updating a 1987 directive which allocated certain radio frequencies in the 900 MHz band to GSM services.
The updated legislation now allows the 900 MHz frequency band to be used to provide faster, pan-European services such as mobile internet while ensuring the continuation of GSM services.
This new flexibility will foster stronger competition on EU's telecoms market and contribute to a more rapid and more widespread roll-out of wireless broadband services, one of the drivers of economic recovery, said the European Commission, which proposed the updating of the legislation.
Industry savings of up to 1.6 billion euros (2.28 billion U.S. dollars) are expected from the reform of the 1987 directive, it said.
"By updating the GSM directive, the EU has paved the way for a new generation of services and technologies where Europe can be a world leader," said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding. "This reform will remove constraints on operators so that they can deploy new technologies in the GSM bands to develop high-speed mobile broadband services."
The renewed directive, which has already been approved by the Eurpean Parliament, will enter into force in October.