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Reallocating the 700 MHz band: should we do it?

Juan Delgado (Global Economics Group, Madrid, Spain)


ISSN: 1463-6697

Article publication date: 12 January 2015




The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the discussion of the so-called “second digital dividend”, aimed to respond to the increasing demand for mobile broadband and the need to harmonize spectrum use across the world. This paper evaluates the uncertainties of this decision and the risk of assigning too much spectrum and too early to MBB at a high cost leading to an inefficient outcome.


This paper analyses the trade-offs involved in the reallocation of the 700-MHz band and proposes several measures to guarantee that any further reallocation of the spectrum leads to an increase in global efficiency.


The decision to reallocate the 700 MHz band should not be adopted until policy-makers are able to guarantee that it will lead to an efficient outcome. The reallocation of the 700-MHz band requires some preliminary steps to guarantee such efficient outcome. Those preliminary policy steps should be directed to analyze the efficiency of the current use of the spectrum and enlarge the scope of policy options by freeing the currently underutilized parts of the spectrum, exploring new technologies and allowing a better spectrum management through market solutions.


This paper sets a framework for the evaluation of the so-called second digital dividend which differs from the evaluation of the first digital dividend. Additional cost and benefits are discussed which were not present in the first digital dividend, and that will affect the final allocation of the spectrum.



Financial support from Abertis is gratefully acknowledged. Abertis did not have any involvement in the study design, the collection, the analysis and interpretation of data, the writing of the paper or in the decision to submit the article for publication.

The ideas and opinions in this paper, as well as any errors, are exclusively of the author.

The author thanks Lluis Borrel for his comments and suggestions and Jaime Pingarón for his research assistance.


Delgado, J. (2015), "Reallocating the 700 MHz band: should we do it?", info, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 9-21.



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