Licenses for WiMAX spectrum in Italy will allow mobile services
MILAN (WiMAX Day). Last week, the Ministry of Communications in Italy responded to questions concerning the guidelines for the auction of 3.4 ~ 3.6 GHz WiMAX spectrum in Q1 2008.
Numerous stakeholders and potential auction bidders submitted questions to the Ministry concerning the auction guidelines that were published in the government’s Official Gazette on October 19, 2007. Several crucial points in that document were unclear and begged clarification.
Amongst the items that required clarification was whether or not the spectrum licenses would permit a license holder to provide “mobile” WiMAX services. The Ministry responded to this question saying that “there are no restrictions and/or prohibitions with respect to the type of services offered.”
However, the Ministry also pointed out that such unrestricted use depends on compliance with the technical standards for the use of Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) networks, as set out in the Electronic Communications Committee recommendation document “ECC/REC (04)05.” This document details how radio frequencies in the 3.4 ~ 3.6 GHz band should be used to avoid interference with other frequencies.
In addition, the Ministry also noted that unrestricted use also depends on the definition of BWA itself, as referred to in the original consultation documentation, which borrows a definition from the European Commission that proposed “flexible usage modes” which includes mobile access.
It would have been far more clear if the Ministry addressed the question of mobility with a simple answer of yes or no, rather than referring to many other documents. As noted previously, the final decision document by the telecommunications authority AGCom (Delibera n. 209/07/CONS), which underlies the formal rules to the auction, stated “the mobile service could be subjected to more restrictive technical rules.”
Thus we are meant to infer from the recent Q&A document from the Ministry that as long as a service adheres to ECC/REC (04)05, it will be permitted, even if it provides mobility.
This definition of permitted services is more clear than the previous document, and some sources say provides 99% certainty that a mobile WiMAX network can be installed without any possibility of additional technical rules. Moreover, one commentator noted that it is highly unlikely that either the Ministry or AGCom will ever impose restrictions against mobility, as both the European Commission and the World Radio Conference have sanctioned the 3.4 ~ 3.6 GHz frequency band for use with mobile services.
Italy now follows the United Kingdom and Austria as the third European country to permit the use of mobility with 3.4 ~ 3.6 GHz spectrum.