The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) and GSMA fear European legislators “have abandoned their ambitions for 5G roll-out” as the European Parliament and member states discuss amendments to the draft European Electronic Communications Code.
Last week it was reported a European Commission (EC) proposal to introduce 25-year minimum terms for spectrum licences is set to be disputed by a group of 15 member states.
Spectrum licence reform proposals are part of the draft Electronic Communications Code first announced by the EC in September 2016.
Some member states were concerned the award of long licences would leave regulators unable to respond to market developments, and hamper innovation because spectrum bands would be awarded for longer than the lifecycle of compatible technologies.
Key for investment
ETNO and the GSMA said spectrum measures in the code are one of the major pro-investment aspects of the telecoms reform, making them extremely relevant to the achievement of both Europe’s 5G objectives and of a European Gigabit Society.
“Our members are committed to achieving the 5G and gigabit society objectives, but Europe’s ambition needs to be mirrored in all the upcoming legislative choices,” the groups said in a joint statement.
“In particular, legislators should recognise the importance of greater predictability and licensing clarity as tools to incentivise continuous investment in mobile networks, vibrant innovation and competitive mobile markets,” the statement added.
The organisations believe several aspects of the EC proposal should be maintained or strengthened and called on the co-legislators to ensure greater certainty and predictability over future rights of use as well as predictability of all licensing conditions.
They also want legislators to support easier spectrum trading and leasing proposals, allow for a neutral approach in terms of general authorisations and spectrum sharing and ensure alignment with international rules in terms of interferences.
Other recommendations include encouraging greater consistency among member states in their approach to spectrum awards, and continuing to enable freedom to compete and differentiate through voluntary sharing under competition law, rather than introducing ex-ante regulatory measures.
Lise Fuhr, director general of ETNO, said: “The EU institutional debate risks delaying a major source of societal and economic growth. 5G is the essential platform to provide new services to consumers and businesses”.