Yip.. Things are different in the EU however. Frequency blocks were sold with only certain technologies permitted. The delay in 900 UMTS in many European Countries has been caused by rules diciating that GSM was the only technology allowed to be used in this band.
Things are changing though - not quite technology neutral (like here and other progressive countries), but liberalised nonetheless. E.g.:
"In October 2009, the Directive
(2009/114/EC) amending the existing GSM Directive, thereby removing the
previous reservation of the 900 MHz band for GSM, was adopted at a European
level. At the same time the European Commission (EC) published a
harmonisation decision designating the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands for
terrestrial electronic communications services, and there is progress to consider
the inclusion of other technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) and
Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax)."
(From a paper on the website of Comreg, the Irish regulator )
(A number of European countries have already deployed UMTS900 anyway.)