The GSM Association has urged the European Commission not to lift current restrictions that tie specific technologies to individual spectrum bands.

In late June, the Commission again discussed its proposal for a new policy whereby operators that win spectrum could build networks using any technology they choose.

The GSM Association is particularly concerned about how the new policy could affect the 2.5 GHz band in Europe. That spectrum has been designated in most European countries as a 3G extension band, initially designed to enable more 3G services.

A policy change would create market fragmentation and would drive up the price of equipment because vendors wouldn't be able to standardise their products on the same spectrum around the globe, the GSM Association claimed.

The 2.5 GHz band should be reserved for 3G operators to ensure that new services, such as mobile video, could realise their full potential, the group said.

However, similar spectrum is being used in the U.S. for other broadband wireless services like WiMax. The WiMax industry has been lobbying to be able to use that band in Europe for similar types of networks.

"We've endorsed the technology agnostic route because it allows operators to make their own choice," said Andy McKinnon, WiMax principal for Motorola Inc. in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

He cautioned, however, that the Commission will have to carefully manage any new policy so that if different technologies are used within the band, they won't interfere with each other.

The Commission is expected to come to a decision on the proposed change later this year. While member states were initially split on the move, the majority now seem to support the change, McKinnon said.