APT 700 Creates World Band for LTE

The Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) band plan for 700 MHz spectrum harmonized globally is viewed by many as important for Long Term Evolution, as it creates a worldwide band of spectrum capable of supporting LTE in most countries, and also therefore allows suppliers of network gear and handsets to build more affordably and efficiently.

It therefore is not surprising APT 700 got at least some attention at the recent International Telecommunications Union Telecom World.

“This is the first time that a technology in one band is available almost globally,” said
Margit Brandl, Nokia Siemens Networks Global Head of Telecoms Policy.

But APT 700 also reflects a couple of other important reasons, including the issues of repurposing, refarming and sharing spectrum in new ways. As the APT 700 plan is based on repurposing former TV broadcast spectrum, APT 700 is akin to the TV white spaces effort, which likewise finds new communications applications for unused TV broadcasting spectrum.

In some cases, perhaps, the APT 700 spectrum could allow new or weaker competitors to obtain valuable ways to extend coverage to rural areas more affordably. In many markets, the carriers that now are the incumbents mostly were able to acquire frequencies that propagate significantly better than the later 2 GHz blocks upon which many competitors have based their businesses.

In Europe, SFR has already started refarming of the 1800 MHz band, according to SFR CFO Thomas Welter. Telstra likewise is an advocate of spectrum refarming, said Mike Wright, Telstra executive director.

The APT 700 MHz band offers the opportunity for European bands to overlap with Asian and South American bands, tapping into a potential pool of in excess of two billion people.
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