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Telecoms to become a single European market

Much of the impetus for new regulation is said to come from the Digital Agenda Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, who is keen to see a sort of quid quo pro in the telecoms market - with operators being released to compete properly on a European basis. The payback would mean accepting changes to roaming and the imposition of a strong Europe-wide regulator. In return the commission would presumably enable the formation of a regional market by allowing more consolidation.

The idea behind this is that operators are looking to scale up their businesses by consolidation if the industry as a whole is to prosper over the next period.

According to the Financial Times, all the parties aim to get the plan approved before the next European Parliament elections in 2014.

The big telco industry body, ETNO, says it will be lobbying hard to ensure the new blueprint is designed to prevent the "decline of the sector". ETNO claims that it's being hit hard by roaming and termination charge policy and the encroachment of OTT services which is preventing operators from making up the losses imposed by the shrinking of voice revenue.

Other interested parties, not least users, will be anxious to ensure that Europe doesn't end up with a handful of monopoly operators and high prices like the US.

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