Late Morning session – 14 June

Following the keynote presentations at this Forum Europe annual event, Gerry Oberst moderated the late morning session, commencing with a description of the Asia Pacific Telecommunity by John Lewis, the chairman of the Spectrum Working Group of the APT’s Wireless Working Group. Mr. Lewis also serves as the editorial chairman of the APT conference preparatory group for the upcoming ITU world radiocommunication conference. He described the substantial number of working groups and APT activities designed to develop the use of spectrum in the region.

An innovative “speed pitch session” followed, during which seven speakers from a wide range of industries were given five minutes each to provide their thoughts on how radio spectrum policy count contribute to Europe’s competitiveness.

The timing for each speaker was firmly limited – Gerry turned over a large blue hour glass that marked the five minute mark for each speaker. The speakers covered equipment makers (Qualcomm, Huawei); operators (ECTA); the satellite sector (SES); broadcasting (Broadcast Networks Europe): wireless microphone users (PMSE – program making and special events), represented by the Association of Professional Wireless Production Technology; and public safety (from a member of the Law Enforcement Working Party’s Radiocomm Expert group).

A moment of controversy was developed by the PMSE speaker, who started out saying his views would not be well-received by an audience consisting of industries seeking to obtain more spectrum, whether from the digital dividend or from refarming. He claimed that content is more important than networks, that PMSE is critical to developing content, but that PMSE spectrum is everywhere under threat. In this view, the RSPP can only threaten the PMSE sector and he has no great hopes for a happy outcome for his industry.

A surprisingly firm response from a European Commission official noted the PMSE concerns, but retorted that these views were included in the RSPP and had been considered in depth. The Commission rejected the thought that existing uses could continue with no efforts towards more efficient operation – noting that PMSE continued to claim it could not rely on digital microphones in most contexts. No agreement was reached, but the issue was well highlighted.

Numerous other perspectives were raised in an hour long question and answer period. The session included several breaks for interactive voting by the audience on a variety of questions. For example, it was revealed that 18% of the audience came from the mobile wireless sector while 26% of the 200 participants were regulators or policymakers, and 20 from the hardware or software industry.

Among other responses to interactive questions, 53% of the audience voted that harmonized European spectrum policy is “critical” to activities. In response to the question which region is likely to be leading spectrum policy over the next decade, opinion was split, with 22% favoring Europe; 19% North America; 24% Asia Pacific and the largest block at 35% saying that no region will dominate.