LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 SERIES, EUROPE: Europe’s mobile sector now lags the US and must find ways to reinvent itself, warned senior execs from Telenor, Hutchison Whampoa Europe and the European Commission today.

“Mobility has expanded fast in the US. We look to them and envy the strength of their market,” said Jon Fredrik Baksaas, CEO and president, Telenor.

As was the case earlier in the day, reflections on the US-Europe divide were catalysed by this week’s Vodafone-Verizon and Microsoft-Nokia deals.

Baksaas’ prescription was harmonising spectrum; not letting regulation of retail pricing squash innovation; and improving incentives for network investment. And he warned not to rely on attempting to gain the edge in future technology development: “I don’t think there is a 5G yet that can solve this. I think we need to learn a little bit more about 4G and get that to roll before we move to a fifth generation. We can’t afford to wait for 5G.”

Christian Salbaing, deputy chairman of Hutchison Whampoa (Europe), agreed on  frequency allocation in Europe. He said not a single operator across the continent enjoyed the same spectrum selection of frequencies. “It’s too late for 800 MHz,” he said, but lessons should be learnt for 700MHz licensing.

Anthony Whelan of the European Commission’s DG Connect described the 800 MHz band as being in “a semi-scandalous condition” and vowed the commission would “put in place predictable conditions for spectrum allocations”.

Forthcoming legislative proposals from the commission – due next week – are likely to have a significant bearing on the nature of a resurgence in Europe’s mobile industry.