EC unveils new licensing system
The European Commission unveiled Wednesday a simplified procedure to license mobile TV and other satellite services in Europe.If approved, the first bids would be would be invited in 2008 for services to launch in 2009. Bids will be assessed on both technical and commercial criteria, including geographic coverage, consumer and competitive benefits, the fulfillment of public policy objectives and spectrum efficiency. However, the new system is not without its flaws. Although selection would be at the pan-European Union level, successful bidders would still need licenses from all the national authorities covered. Fees would continue to vary from country to country. The commission says the system will prevent fragmentation of the European market, reduce uncertainty for operators and accelerate the creation of EU-wide services. The proposal must be approved by the EU Parliament and governments.