EU Updates Mobile Rules to Boost Use of Internet on the Move

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European lawmakers reached agreement Monday on how to free up radio spectrum for new mobile Internet services, while ensuring that regular mobile phone services are not compromised.

Under the updated law, called the GSM Directive, the 900Mhz frequency reserved for GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) phones can be used for fast Internet connections once the law takes effect in October.

Many users will be able to use their standard mobile phones to access the Internet, rather than having to trade up to an iPhone, BlackBerry or other more expensive handset.

By updating the GSM Directive, the European Union "has paved the way for a new generation of services and technologies where Europe can be a world leader," said Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding.

In addition to boosting mobile Internet traffic, the new GSM Directive also aims to save mobile operators around €1.6 billion (US$2.27 billion) from reductions in network costs associated with mobile Internet delivery.

Less than 100 million mobile phone users currently use their handsets to access data on the Internet. The new law aims to boost that figure to 500 million in the coming years.

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