The European Commission (EC) took steps Wednesday to promote efficient and flexible use of 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequencies reserved for GSM mobile phone services, as it proposed to open those frequencies to a host of third-generation (3G) wireless services that include mobile Internet, video, and other multimedia offerings. Specifically, the proposed measure would repeal the EC’s 20 year-old “GSM Directive,” which, in 1987, set aside channels in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands exclusively for wireless voice services based on the GSM standard. Asserting that the law is “out of date,” EC Telecom Commissioner Viviane Reding termed Wednesday’s proposal as a “concrete step towards a more flexible market driven approach to spectrum management in Europe.” In support of the plan, EC officials cited estimates of the wireless industry that the repeal of the GSM law would cut network costs by 40% over the next five years, as carriers would be able to reach a larger population with fewer network facilities. As Reding predicted that the removal of the GSM law and similar regulatory barriers would “facilitate the deployment of mobile communications by allowing new technologies to share spectrum with existing ones,” a spokesman for Reding stressed that the EC’s goal is “to see a system where most services can be offered in any band at the choice of the operators with the technology they want.” Although the plan requires the approval of EU member governments and the EU parliament, an EC official said, “we expect this to happen quickly, by the end of the year.”