Reding Rides Into CeBIT
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