LIVE FROM MOBILE 360-EUROPE, BRUSSELS: Progress needs to be made on the single telecoms market package as soon as possible or momentum could be lost, warned Andrus Ansip (pictured), vice president for the digital single market at the European Commission.
The politician urged EU ministers to intensify technical discussions about how the single telecoms market will work so that negotiations about putting it in place can start as soon as possible.
He said he hoped agreement comes about in the next few months, “otherwise I fear we may lose momentum”.
Ansip said that the ambition of the single telecoms market should not involve “looking backwards at yesterday’s services” — specifically roaming.
“I will push to end roaming surcharges in Europe. They have no place in the telecoms single market that Europe so badly needs. They remain an irritant and anomaly and frankly they give telecoms companies a bad name with their own customer,” he commented.
Ansip went on to say that the single telecoms market package is essential for boosting Europe’s competitiveness and improving the provision of public services.
“The whole objective is to make everybody’s lives easier,” delegates were told. “I know we are in a critical phase but we should remember where we started and why we need it.”
He said agreement should ensure spectrum supports high-speed, quality services at a decent price. It should also “verify net neutrality rules”.
“Everyone should be able to access online services and distribute content without being blocked or throttled regardless of which country they are in. The principal of net neutrality needs to be enshrined in EU law to provide clarity and certainty for investors,” Ansip said.
Other benefits of the package outlined included greater customer choice with operators able to consolidate across borders and offer their services “on a European basis”.
Added competition should also have an impact on network investment: “The best stimulus [to investment] is effective competition which is linked directly to users being able to switch service providers,” Ansip said.