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Reding Rides Into CeBIT

Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner responsible for telecom issues, is set to raise her increasingly high industry profile even further this week at CeBIT, the monster technology trade fair held each year in Hannover, Germany.

Reding, the Commissioner for Information Society and Media, has been mixing it up with Europe's carriers during the past year or so, speaking out on issues such as German broadband, security, and mobile roaming charges. (See EC Goes to Court, Eurobites: Upheaval, M&A, and Disaster, and Achtung! Regulators Force DT to Share, and EU Addresses Mobile Roaming.)

And it's mobile that tops the Commissioner's agenda at the German übershow, which begins today with an opening ceremony to be attended by Reding, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) CEO Patricia Russo, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

While she's at CeBIT, Reding is expected to announce new policies on mobile TV and radio frequency identification (RFID). Reding will also hold an informal meeting with member states' telecom ministers to discuss mobile TV issues and her proposed roaming charges regulation. (See EU Wants Roaming Cuts.)

It won't be the first time the Commissioner has addressed mobile TV. In fact, at last year's CeBIT, she urged member states to free up spectrum for these services. On Friday, she is expected to introduce ways in which the Commission can foster mobile TV growth.

But the European arm of mobile industry body GSM Association (GSMA) is not convinced policies from the European Commission can effectively stimulate the mobile TV market, because the technologies involved are so new.

"I'm not sure what the Commission can meaningfully do at this stage, because it's something for the market to decide," says Eirini Zafeiratou, director of GSM Europe. "It's not clear which way the market will go."

At Thursday's informal ministerial meeting, Reding will address the differences of opinion some countries have on the roaming regulation proposal. For example, the Commission wants to introduce wholesale and retail price caps, but France and the U.K. reportedly oppose the attempt to cap retail tariffs.

Reding will also present the winners of the 2007 European ICT Prize, which recognizes innovative, new products with real market potential. The prize is €200,000 (US$264,000), and three winners will be chosen.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading

Mark Sebastyn 12/5/2012 | 3:12:36 PM
re: Reding Rides Into CeBIT Let me guess... she is going to announce policies that protect European producers and expropriate the property of domestic carriers.

Just another day in the hyper-bureaucracy of the EU...
DarkWriting 12/5/2012 | 3:12:35 PM
re: Reding Rides Into CeBIT **We can sacrifice our children's future for a short-term gain in ATT stock, or lay an intelligent groundwork for the future.**

HEAR, HEAR!!! And the rest of the post as well. Sometimes, a free market free-for-all is just not the right answer.

DW
Mark Sebastyn 12/5/2012 | 3:12:35 PM
re: Reding Rides Into CeBIT I think you guys are missing what is happening here.

There is a difference between a muni deciding they want to lay fiber to every door to compete with an incumbent, and expropriating the asset of the incumbent and dictating what they can and cannot do with it.

If you think more investment will result from scenario #2, you are sadly mistaken.
materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:12:35 PM
re: Reding Rides Into CeBIT On the other hand, government involvement with DARPA did not hurt the subsequent development of the Internet. If new technologies are emerging to fundamentally alter a network landscape, government involvement to prevent Balkanization can be very beneficial long-term, even if incumbents hate it at the moment.

I am old enough to recall the bru ha ha the Interstate highway system evoked when installed. Every two-bit mayor (including those in my state) tried their best to divert that beast onto Main street, so passers-by would buy gas and a hamburger.

Imagine what we would have lost had they won. Many small towns were hurt by this new highway system, but the general economy prospered. I believe this is happening again with telecom networks instead of road networks. We can sacrifice our children's future for a short-term gain in ATT stock, or lay an intelligent groundwork for the future.
DarkWriting 12/5/2012 | 3:12:30 PM
re: Reding Rides Into CeBIT My response was a general comment on free markets being the end-all-to-beat-all not to this specific article.
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