The EU’s regulatory approach to 5G does little to improve the continent’s prospects for the technology and provides a “grim” outlook for innovators, a group of cross-industry associations said.

In a joint statement the GSMA, Developers Alliance, Digital Europe, Cable Europe, Electronic Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) and healthcare IT body COCIR, said changes to legislation being discussed by the European Council and European Parliament would increase rules and complexity for communications companies.

The group urged the EU to place 5G at the core of digital reform and shape upcoming laws with a view to increasing network investment and allow innovation.

Together, the associations accused the European Parliament and European Council of taking a “timid” approach to telecoms reforms the group consider essential to the success of EC 5G objectives.

“Currently, the outlook for innovators appears quite grim,” the group stated: “There [is] little focus on easing regulatory burdens; on the contrary, there are plans to further increase rules and complexity.

“Our associations therefore call on all the EU institutions to maintain a high level of ambition to ensure that the strategic 5G objectives remain at the core of Europe’s digital reforms. The upcoming regulatory choices on telecoms and privacy laws need to be fully coherent with the overarching aim of increasing network investment, allowing more space for innovation, boosting the competitiveness of Europe’s vertical industries and creating further choice for European consumers.”

Their comments come as EU lawmakers discuss the European Commission’s proposed Electronic Communications Code and an update of the current ePrivacy directive, which look likely to impose a stringent new set of rules for operators and associated companies.

Increasing pressure
Criticism from the six associations comes two weeks after the CEOs of some of Europe’s largest communications providers warned proposed changes to the Electronic Communications Code and ePrivacy regulations could threaten investment in 5G.

In an open letter, the operators urged legislators to “save the 5G project”.

Previously, ETNO and GSMA said they feared the EC would derail 5G roll-out plans with proposed amendments to spectrum regulation in the Electronic Communications Code.