Regulating the radio spectrum

Radio frequencies, vital to the operation of many things we take for granted, such as our mobile phones, broadcasting and broadband Internet or remote control devices, are a scarce resource. To ensure their optimal use, the European Union agreed on how to coordinate its policy in this field to prevent interference in important communications, for example.


Decision No 676/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the European Community (Radio Spectrum Decision).


This decision seeks to coordinate policy within the EU on the availability of radio spectrum and technical conditions for its efficient use. It applies the allocation of radio and wireless communication frequencies, including GSM, third and fourth generation mobile communications (3G, 4G) for frequencies between 9 kHz and 3000 GHz relevant for the internal market.

Actions under the decision take into account the work of international organisations, such as the international telecommunication union (ITU) in managing the radio spectrum and the European conference of postal and telecommunications administrations (CEPT), an intergovernmental organisation with 48 member countries.

Radio Spectrum Committee

Building also on the general principles contained in the radio spectrum policy programme adopted in 2012, the Radio Spectrum Committee assists the Commission in defining, developing and implementing EU radio spectrum policy. Chaired by the Commission, it comprises representatives of the member countries and examines proposals on technical measures to harmonise conditions for the availability and use of the radio spectrum.

It also issues opinions on the mandates transmitted by the Commission to the CEPT on the harmonisation of radio frequency allocation and availability of information relating to the use of the spectrum. The Commission’s draft measures, once approved by the committee and adopted by the Commission, are binding throughout the EU and have to be followed by Member States when granting rights to use spectrum.


Radio frequencies are allocated by international bodies, particularly the World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) of the ITU and, in Europe, by the CEPT. Through this decision, the EU also assumes a role in ensuring the optimal use of the radio spectrum.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 676/2002/EC



OJ L 108 of 24.4.2002, pp. 1-6



Most of the decisions adopted by the Commission in view of the harmonisation of the technical conditions for the availability and efficient use of spectrum are available on the Commission website on Radio Spectrum Decisions.


Commission Decision 2002/622/EC of 26 July 2002 establishing a Radio Spectrum Policy Group (Official Journal L 198 of 27.7.2002, pp. 49-51).

This decision establishes a consultative group, the radio spectrum policy group, to assist and advise the Commission on issues such as radio spectrum availability and use, the harmonisation and allocation of frequencies, the issue of rights to use the spectrum, pricing, etc.

See consolidated version.


Decision No 243/2012/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 establishing a multiannual radio spectrum policy programme (Official Journal L 81 of 21.3.2012, pp. 7-17).

Last updated: 18.07.2014