EU targeting single European telecoms market

14 JAN 2013

The EU’s telecoms commissioner has hinted at progress towards a pan-European telecoms market via a legislative overhaul aimed at encouraging network sharing, cross-border consolidation and harmonised policies.

“We’re working on a range of measures to create common and stable conditions across the EU for telecoms competition, investment and growth, which should also make cross-border consolidation more attractive,” said Neelie Kroes in an interview with the Financial Times over the weekend.

“Various forms of asset sharing can promote competition and investment – regulated access to dominant infrastructure on terms that support further investment by all players, access to other utilities’ infrastructure on reasonable terms [and] sharing of wireless assets such as masts or spectrum under clear conditions,” she added.

According to the report, Kroes comments are in sync with the thoughts of the CEOs of Europe’s largest operators, which met recently with the EU’s competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia to discuss the possibility of a single European telecoms market.

The European Telecommunications Network Operators Association (ETNO), a Brussels-based industry lobby group, said the operators will now present their findings around a single European market to Kroes.

Brussels has already approved the sharing of spectrum as part of an effort to meet rising demand for wireless data traffic. Policies aimed at encouraging infrastructure pooling and networking sharing in order to accelerate 4G rollout are in the pipeline for 2013, the report says.

But Kroes says she is not pushing for the creation of a single pan-EU telecoms regulator at this stage, instead stressing the need for stronger co-operation between the Commission and national regulators.