The study conducted for the EC, DG CONNECT, considered the possible impacts of off-loading from macro-cellular networks using Wi-Fi, femtocells, and/or picocells. It assessed the potential socio-economic benefits of traffic off-load in achieving DAE (Digital Agenda for Europe) goals, and the amount of spectrum that will be needed to achieve those benefits.
The study considered how traffic off-loading is evolving over time, both in terms of technical and of market developments, and how this evolution influences the need for spectrum. An extensive survey of the current take-up of mobile traffic offload in Europe was undertaken, involving discussions with various stakeholders including The Cloud, O2, BT, FON, Intel and others. It was concluded that at the time relatively little action was needed at European level; however, a few interventions should be considered in order to ensure that the momentum is maintained. Among these were
- seeking to make spectrum from 5150 MHz to 5925 MHz available globally for Wi Fi;
- continue seeking to make 2.6 GHz and 3.5 GHz fully available for mobile use;
- consulting on future licensing options for 3.5 GHz and other potential new licensed mobile frequency bands; and
- various measures to reduce administrative burden on the deployment of public off-load services and Wi-Fi networks.