updated 04:25 pm EST, Fri November 16, 2007
700MHz Goes International
The 700MHz spectrum that will soon be opened up in the US will be made available across much of the rest of the world, governments participating in the World Radiocommunications Conference have mentioned today. Agreements struck during the weeks-long event will have the frequency range used for international calls and high-speed data across most of the Americas and prosperous Asian nations such as China and India, allowing any future cellphones or handhelds to roam between networks without incorporating a second receiver. Europeans are also slated to gain access to a part of the spectrum but will need to wait until 2015 due to licensing issues, the Conference reports.
The decision may have a tremendous impact on decisions by companies such as Google, which hopes to license the network in the US and may start its own mobile service to provide Americans with a broadband network that would be faster and longer-ranged than today's 3G cellular services. International deals will let Google potentially expand its business without having to switch to alternate network standards and divide its product lineup.
The opportunity comes as the result of a worldwide shift to digital-only TV networks, which in many areas frees up the 700MHz spectrum used by analog over-the-air broadcasts.