Benefits of synchronised spectrum release across Europe

Plum produced a report for the GSMA which considered the costs and benefits of synchronisation of spectrum release across Europe, particularly in relation to 700 MHz.

The EC is concerned that Europe is investing less in networks that the US or Asia and has fallen behind in terms of LTE deployment and take-up. A lack of coordination across member states over spectrum assignment has been identified as a key problem holding back investment. Market fragmentation and differences in retail prices (and prices paid for spectrum) are also identified as symptoms of a lack of coordination.

Spectrum reallocation (with incumbent use) involves costs and benefits, winners and losers. If the benefits of reallocation exceed the costs then reallocation is efficient, but not everyone will necessarily be a beneficiary. Compensation mechanisms may be required to create a win-win.

The benefits of spectrum release are assessed using avoided cost and bootstrap spectrum demand modelling, and are compared with the costs of clearance.  These benefits are then related to timing and synchronicity in order to assess the optimum point at which spectrum is released for mobile usage.