Building on early support from Australia, Asia and Latin America, the push for near-universal adoption of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity ‘APT 700 MHz band’ is gaining momentum around the globe. 42 countries are now allocating, committed to or recommending the use of the band for advanced wireless broadband services.
Eight networks have now been deployed across four countries that are already using this band. This includes Telstra and Optus in Australia who, having gained access to the 700 MHz band at the ‘digital dividend auction’ in 2013, have committed to rapid roll-out plans which will see both cover 90 per cent or more of the population by mid this year.
This year has also seen the number of APT 700 MHz capable devices increase from 55 to 76 in a matter of months. In addition, it appears likely that Europe will at least partially harmonise with the APT 700 MHz plan, further increasing the benefits that come from international harmonisation.
‘Meeting demand for spectrum for advanced mobile broadband is not simply about quantity,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.
‘The quality and attributes of any new band, as reflected in the gathering level of adoption globally, will be equally critical to the consumer experience.’
There are many benefits to consumers when industry and regulators achieve substantial international spectrum harmonisation. Economies of scale enabled by this spectrum harmonisation leads to materially cheaper Long Term Evolution (LTE) devices (including smartphones and tablets). International roaming is also made easier.
One particular attribute of the 700 MHz band is its high utility: it is an excellent frequency for regional and rural areas where wide area coverage is required, while it is also useful for penetrating homes and buildings in metro areas.
For a full list of countries that have committed to or recommend use of the APT 700 MHz band see here.
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Media release 12/2015 - 17 March