The GSMA called on members of the European Council to back proposed spectrum reforms to encourage operator investment ahead of a crunch meeting on the new legislation.

Representatives from EU member states, which comprise the bulk of the policy agenda-setting European Council, are set to discuss the European Commission’s (EC) proposed European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) at a meeting on 9 June.

Among the items up for discussion are controversial proposals for 25-year minimum spectrum licences, and other changes to communication laws – some of which the GSMA said would increase the regulatory burden on operators.

Following the publication of the draft EECC in September 2016, reports emerged 15 member states were against the award of 25-year licences. According to a document leaked to Reuters, the members – including the UK and Germany – said the proposed law would limit national regulators’ ability to respond to market developments.

In a statement, the GSMA argued 25-year minimum spectrum licences, with a “strong presumption” of renewal, were a crucial element of the proposed legislation, which would provide an incentive for operators to invest at the levels needed for 5G.

The association also urged council members to adopt other measures which would create a regulatory framework to encourage investment and innovation by the sector.

These included greater coordination of spectrum resources across member states, avoiding “overly burdensome regulation” and adopting rules designed to foster successful and secure IoT development and deployment.

“As the EU’s Telecoms Ministers prepare for tomorrow’s meeting, we encourage them to carefully consider the impact of regulation, and particularly the long-term effect it will have on innovation and investment in Europe,” Afke Schaart, VP Europe at GSMA, said.

“We have one opportunity to get this right – the right regulation can propel Europe into the future, whilst protecting consumers and encouraging innovation in this sector – the ideal outcome for all,” Schaart added.