ETNO Slams 'Punitive' Spectrum Fees

A new report from the European telco body asks regulators to provide a more supportive investment environment, while telcos are praised for improving their green credentials.

Anne Morris, Contributing Editor, Light Reading

January 31, 2020

2 Min Read
ETNO Slams 'Punitive' Spectrum Fees

The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) called on regulators to adopt a pro-investment approach to 5G and fiber deployments, aiming particularly sharp criticism at some of the more "punitive" spectrum auctions that it said appeared "designed to extract the maximum bids" as opposed to considering the public benefits of future networks. (See Germany raids telcos for €6.5B in epic 5G auction and Italy's €6B+ 5G Auction Risks Roman Ruins.)

In a new report, titled "The State of Digital Communications 2020" and compiled by Analysys Mason on behalf of ETNO, the association nevertheless offers a more favorable assessment of other increasingly important areas, noting that networks are becoming greener. For example, the carbon intensity of ETNO members is said to have decreased, with emissions at 29 grams per euro earned in 2019, as opposed to 32 grams in 2018.

In general, the ETNO report provides a useful snapshot of where Europe is right now in terms of overall connectivity, with some key stats available:

  • Operators launched 20 5G networks in nine countries of the European Union during 2019, with 80 expected to be in operation by the end of 2020.

  • Fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks reached 41 million households in 2019.

  • Eleven of the 17 Europe-based brands in the Forbes Digital 100 Index are either telcos or telecoms vendors.

  • Total investments in European telecoms networks reached €48.6 billion ($53.7 billion) per year, although European investment per capita, at €89 ($98) per person, is low compared to €213 ($235) in the US or €191 ($211) in Japan.

  • The total price tag for 5G spectrum auctions is expected to reach a total of €39.4 billion ($43.6 billion), with €17.4 billion ($19.2 billion) spent by November 2019.

  • Some 740 million active Internet of Things (IoT) connections are expected in Europe by 2026, while telecom revenues from over-the-top (OTT) video services are expected to increase to €5.5 billion ($6.1 billion) per year by 2024, up from €1.8 billion ($2 billion) per year today.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Anne Morris

Contributing Editor, Light Reading

Anne Morris is a freelance journalist, editor and translator. She has been working in the telecommunications sector since 1996, when she joined the London-based team of Communications Week International as copy editor. Over the years she held the editor position at Total Telecom Online and Total Tele-com Magazine, eventually leaving to go freelance in 2010. Now living in France, she writes for a number of titles and also provides research work for analyst companies.

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