Who’s Afraid of a Pan-European Spectrum Policy? The EU and the Battles Over the UHF Broadcast Band

Marko Ala-Fossi, Montse Bonet


Several European Union (EU) member states have consistently opposed European Commission (EC) efforts to create a supranational EU spectrum policy, but only Finland voted against the EC at the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2015, proposing the release of the entire ultra-high frequency (UHF) band for mobile use. Originally, in 2007, the EC and Finland wanted quick release of the UHF for mobile, but the EC has changed its UHF policy completely. Based on a new institutionalism approach, this article argues that one of the main reasons for this development is that the EU’s spectrum policy planning system has become intergovernmental. The EU members are now able to force the EC to seek a wide consensus on spectrum policy. The unique Finnish spectrum policy stand is based on certain nation-specific institutional factors: concentration of power in the spectrum policy, strong economic orientation of the communication policy, and oversupply of UHF frequencies.


European Union, Finland, spectrum policy, broadcasting, mobile telecommunication

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