Neelie Kroes, who is the European Commissioner for the digital agenda, held a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday, where she urged member countries of the EU to back a plan that would speed up deployment of LTE networks.
According to Kroes, the absence of LTE across the continent as well as the differences in bands used by different carriers, are proving to be a major problem in Europe. She cited the iPhone 5 and the new Ipad as devices that don't work as well as they should in this region, having no 4G networks to rely on.
She also sent out a warning to countries in the EU saying that "Without faster 4G roll-out, device makers won’t take Europe into account when planning their latest smartphones." And that's certain to raise some flags for government officials around the continent.
Kroes' plan would be to take $64.27 billion out of the EU budget and allocate them to carriers developing and expanding LTE coverage. She also stresses that this is an investment rather than a hand-out and that the EU will receive all of it's money back plus interest.
You might remember that not so long ago Europe was leading in terms of mobile technology with vast coverage and excellent speeds on our 3G networks, whereas the United States was lagging behind. However with the deployment of 4G the tables have turned and Europe is the laggard now, due to long delayed spectrum auctions, inconsistent plans, and what some would call, bigger problems.
The good news is that there finally seems to be enough political will and public pressure to make this happen. The BBC even reported this morning that there are talks of accelerating the UK spectrum auction so carriers can begin deployment sooner. Hopefully this will happen cross continent, and in 2013 our 4G networks will be as shiny and inter-operable as our 3G ones are now.