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Refarming spectrum from analogue TV services is a cheap and easy way to improve mobile broadband services, new research suggests.

According to a study of the UK, Finland and Switzerland, the 900MHz spectrum that will be freed up by the digital switchover is ideally suited to mobile broadband services.

Since the introduction of 3G across Europe, mobile broadband subscriptions have rapidly grown and are expected to reach 100 million by 2014, the research added.

Andrei Tchadliev, analyst at Pyramid Research, suggested that "healthy competition" has allowed usage allowances to be expanded while prices are lowered, but has also pushed network capacities to their limits.

He added: "Spectrum refarming is one of the most significant regulatory changes to affect the mobile industry in the past 20 years, however, those with 900MHz assets see refarming as a threat to their competitive advantage as well as to the quality of their networks."

Mr Tchadiliev went on to note that it would be important for operators to begin rolling out next-generation (4G) services, once the spectrum has been reallocated.

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