2014-04-03 13:29:01 -
The GSMA recognises the efforts of Rapporteur Pilar del Castillo to develop a constructive response to the Commission’s Connected Continent proposals but believes that the overall package fails to address the key challenge of stimulating growth and investment. Europe’s telecoms operators are facing decreasing revenues and reduced market values compared with operators in the U.S. and Asia, as well as players across the broader mobile ecosystem. This is impairing their ability to invest in the infrastructure required to put Europe back on the path to growth and jobs and to restore its global competitiveness. The GSMA shares the European Commission’s view that a competitive telecommunications single market can help meet this challenge, but a more thorough and comprehensive approach is
required to support this goal.
The European Parliament voted today on changes to the Open Internet provisions that would further compromise investment and hinder innovation, limiting the availability of customised services differentiated on the basis of quality and price, and introducing additional restrictions on essential traffic management.
“For mobile to fulfil this potential, network operators must be able to develop services that meet the needs of consumers and charge different prices for differentiated products. This is also a key driver for the high network investment needed to meet Europe’s connectivity challenge and underpin growth,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA.
The Parliament’s supportive stance on the European Commission’s spectrum policy proposals, and its call for longer licence terms, is welcomed by the GSMA. The growth of Internet access over mobile broadband is dramatically increasing demand for spectrum and, therefore, securing access to long-term, harmonised, spectrum is critical. The Connected Continent’s push to harmonise and coordinate aspects of spectrum policy can provide more certainty, as operators plan medium to long-term network deployments.
“Europe’s fragmented and inconsistent approach to spectrum policy continues to constrain investment and growth. A clear long-term progressive spectrum strategy is essential to rejuvenate mobile in Europe,” said Bouverot.
Further Reform Urgently Needed
The draft Connected Continent package includes some positive elements, but on balance it risks undermining regulatory certainty, clarity and consistency, both for consumers and businesses. The GSMA urges all parties to quickly start work on a comprehensive review of the existing regulatory framework for electronic communications, focusing on the underlying reasons for Europe’s lagging investment.
The GSMA and CEOs of major European mobile operators recently sent an open letter to Commissioner Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, setting out the key success factors for achieving an effective EU telecoms single market. The elements critical to its success are modernised regulation, consolidation for investment, spectrum for growth, a level playing field for all players and greater trust, take-up and use of new digital services by EU citizens: www.gsma.com/newsroom/gsma-and-ceos-mobile-operators/
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About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.
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For the GSMAChristian Prior (Brussels)+32 (0) 2 894 90 13 CPrior@webershandwick.com
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