Refarming 900 MHz

This project concerns the assessment of the impact on GSM quality from the refarming of the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands.


The main objective of the project is to verify the quality of GSM-only users and devices as a result of the refarming of the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands, and to analyse the GSM retail market in order to monitor the gradual evolution of mobile networks towards advanced 4G and 5G technologies.


The impact of the project concerns the protection of the current service quality of GSM-only users by experimentally checking that the reduction of the frequency resources for the GSM system due to the refarming will not lead to an unacceptable degradation of the quality of user terminals or devices (e.g. M2M) operating only in the GSM system.

Another aspect of interest for the Institutions (MISE, AGCOM) concerns the analysis of the mobile retail market in order to also estimate the possible need to maintain portions of frequency bands for GSM technology.


The project involves the assessment of the impact on GSM quality due to the refarming of the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands.

The activity is being carried out within a specific Technical Working Group set up by MISE, the participants of which are MISE, FUB and the mobile operators that use GSM bands.
GSM quality is being evaluated through the joint use of network meters provided by the mobile operators and accurate experimental measurements carried out by the FUB.

The quality assessment methodologies are specially adapted to the 900 and 1800 MHz refarming scenarios.

As a consequence of the progressive refarming of the GSM bands, it was necessary to update the GSM quality assessment criteria to take into account more complex fields, such as, for example, the refarming of both 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands in the same geographical area or the refarming of the 1800 MHz band involving multiple carriers.

Another topic of interest regarding the evolution of cellular technologies has been the analysis of the GSM Retail market.

The information on GSM Retail concerning both mobile networks and M2M networks is mainly provided by mobile operators and supplemented with other data from official entities available on the web (e.g. AGCOM data).

The FUB performs the data analysis in aggregate mode through a rigorous and complex model that allows the evaluation of current and future trends in GSM retail, both for mobile users and M2M devices.

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