GSMA, Mobile Operators Pitch on Single Euro Market
BRUSSELS -- Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA yesterday sent an open letter to Commissioner Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, setting out the key elements needed to deliver a telecoms single market to drive growth and employment across the region.
The letter was endorsed by the following CEOs of leading European mobile operators:
Europe was long viewed as a pioneer in mobile, but is now lagging behind other regions in the deployment of mobile broadband, particularly in 4G. Despite having the world’s highest unique subscriber penetration rate at 80 per cent, Europe is the only region to see revenues decline – from €162 billion in 2010 to €142 billion in 20131. However the mobile industry can play a key role in the European recovery, supported by more comprehensive policy reform to deliver a true single telecoms market that encourages investment in mobile broadband connectivity, enables innovation and helps build consumer confidence in mobile services.
Below is the text of the letter:
Europe’s telecoms network operators are facing decreasing revenues and reduced market values compared with operators in the U.S. and Asia, and with players across the ecosystem. This is impairing our ability to invest in the communications infrastructure needed to put Europe back on the path to growth and jobs, and to restore its global competitiveness.
We share the European Commission’s view that a competitive telecommunications single market can help meet this challenge and underpin growth, employment and citizen welfare across the European Union.
We believe the following elements are critical to its success:
1. Modernising Regulation
An essential element to the telecoms single market is the elimination of outdated and unnecessary layers of regulation, more harmonisation at the European level, and the consistent application of rules irrespective of the technology being used, who is providing the service, or where individuals are located.
2. Consolidation for Investment
The evolution of Europe’s antitrust framework to support market driven restructuring and consolidation will be necessary for redefining the investment climate and driving Europe’s competitiveness.
3. Spectrum for Growth
Broad and bold reform to the management of Europe’s spectrum assets is required. It should be focused on the timely release of new capacity that is harmonised across the single market, and allocated with the objective of driving long-term growth and investment.
4. A Level Playing Field for All
Even-handed regulation across the value chain is needed to open up opportunities for all players to offer competing new internet services, together with innovative, interoperable and secure telecommunications services. Operators must have the commercial freedom to develop new business models, innovate at the network and service level, and offer customised services in order to restore the investment climate and drive innovation and competition in the global marketplace.
5. Trust for Take Up and Use
Privacy and security are fundamental to building trust and confidence in the uptake and use of new digital services by EU citizens. We must address the current patchwork of regulations, which compromises the effective and consistent protection of consumers across the digital value chain.