More Needs To Be Done To Drive Growth of Europe’s Digital Economy

30 June 2015, Brussels: The GSMA appreciates the efforts of the Council of the European Union and European Parliament in concluding the Connected Continent legislation.

“The clarity resulting from the agreement reduces the regulatory uncertainty for telecommunications companies operating in Europe,” said Afke Schaart, Vice President Europe, GSMA. “However, we believe the rules agreed today are not sufficient to help Europe address the region’s growth and competitiveness challenges. To realise the vision laid down in the Digital Single Market Strategy, much more needs to be done.”

Telecommunications markets have changed dramatically since the current set of rules came into force. Today’s markets are characterised by a rapidly increasing scope and convergence of technologies and services. Consumers are faced with a wide array of technologies and providers, many from adjacent industries, offering similar solutions to satisfy their communications needs. The EU should aim to quickly modernise and, wherever possible, reduce regulation in the sector, taking into full account the increasing competition that is emerging from non-traditional sources.

“Now is the time to address these issues with clear, long-term thinking. That is why the GSMA urges the EU institutions to accelerate the comprehensive review of the telecoms regulatory framework,” continued Schaart. “The region needs a forward-looking policy and a regulatory framework that further strengthens Europe as a preferred location for investment and innovation, with European citizens receiving the same level of protection when using the same or similar communication services.”

The GSMA believes that the upcoming Telecoms Framework Review should also address the missed opportunity to reform spectrum policies to support the identification and deployment of harmonised spectrum for mobile broadband across Europe.

Furthermore, significant work needs to be done to ensure the final details of the Connected Continent Regulation are implementable. It is important that the implementing act on roaming works effectively to prevent negative impacts on domestic markets, and guidelines for the Open Internet rules ensure consistent application of the Regulation across the EU.

The GSMA welcomes the incoming Luxembourg Presidency and looks forward to the Council sustaining the momentum and ensuring a timely update of the EU policy framework to support and accelerate the region’s transition to a successful Digital Economy.

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