Mobile Telephones

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th December 1997.

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Photo of Steve Pound Steve Pound Labour, Ealing North 12:00 am, 18th December 1997

If she will make a statement about the development of the third-generation mobile telephones. [19877]

Photo of Mrs Barbara Roche Mrs Barbara Roche Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Small Firms, Trade and Industry), Department of Trade and Industry

The Government are determined that the UK should be at the forefront in Europe in the provision of third-generation mobile communications. Therefore, we published a detailed consultation document in July setting out the proposed licensing and regulation framework for third-generation mobile communications operators. The Government are giving careful consideration to all the comments that have been received and we shall consult the industry further as proposals are developed in more detail.

Photo of Steve Pound Steve Pound Labour, Ealing North

I give a warm welcome to my hon. Friend's answer and to the fact that the Government clearly recognise the opportunities for business offered by new telecommunications technology. Will she accept my assurance that many leading UK companies also welcome that? Those companies include Ericsson, which, although unfortunately located slightly to the west of my constituency, sponsors Queens Park Rangers football club, which, although located slightly to the east of my constituency, numbers among its many thousands of supporters a small group who have been positively identified as living in Ealing, North. Will she tell the House what is the Government's preferred technology for the third generation of mobile telephones?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Roche Mrs Barbara Roche Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Small Firms, Trade and Industry), Department of Trade and Industry

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his ingenuity and his constituents on having such an able representative, who contrives to mention his constituency at every opportunity—something that is warmly appreciated. The Government are taking a lead within the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, which is developing the technical standards for third-generation mobile phones. I am delighted to be able to tell the House that, this week, my officials have been attending an ETSI meeting and I have instructed them to support the wide band code division multiple access standard. That standard offers the best chance of a single global standard for the third generation, which will give European companies the opportunity to compete in world markets.