This paper addresses the potential need for European public policy actions in the area of mobile communications, in particular of developments towards 4th generation networks (4G). The paper is based on work conducted for the EC/JRC/IPTS/ESTO project “The Future of Mobile Technologies in EU: Assessing 4G Developments”. The paper first reviews developments of 3G and 4G technologies in Japan, Korea, China and the USA. It briefly addresses potential costs and benefits of competition in infrastructures. The paper states that initiatives in Europe for technologies beyond 3G tend to address research issues, while players in Asia and the USA are aiming at sales of 4G‐equipment supposed to start as soon as possible. In conclusion, nine options for policy makers are presented, such as to stimulate 2.5G and 3G data markets, to analyse actual spectrum use, to continue analysing approaches competing with UMTS, to estimate costs and benefits of new approaches to spectrum regulation, and to evaluate steps towards frequency allocation.
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