The GSMA set out the key elements that the industry association believes are essential for the successful creation of a single European telecoms market.
Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSMA, sent an open letter to Neelie Kroes, the vice president of the European Commission, outlining the elements needed for a single market to drive growth and employment. Kroes has been pushing for a single telecoms market in the region for some time.
The letter is endorsed by the CEOs of Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telekom Austria Group, Telenor, TeliaSonera, VimpelCom and Vodafone, as well as the deputy chairman of Hutchison Whampoa Europe.
The GSMA shares the European Commission’s view that a competitive telecoms single market will help the mobile industry tackle the challenges around mobile broadband deployment and falling revenue, while also underpinning growth, employment and citizen welfare across the European Union.
The first element needed, according to Bouverot, is the modernisation of regulation to remove “outdated and unnecessary layers of regulation” and to harmonise at a European level. There should also be consistent application of the rules regardless of the technology used, service provider or location of individuals.
The next element is for Europe’s antitrust framework to evolve to support market-driven restructuring and consolidation that will be needed to redefine the investment climate.
In addition, the management of Europe’s spectrum assets should be reformed to focus on the “timely release of new capacity that is harmonised across the single market” and to allow for allocation that can drive long-term growth and investment.
Bouverot also called for a level playing field in terms of regulation, so all players have opportunities to offer competing and “innovative, interoperable and secure” telecommunications services.
As part of this operators must have commercial freedom to develop new business models, and innovate with their networks and services.
Finally, the “current patchwork of regulations” around privacy and security must be addressed as they compromise the protection of consumers. This is “fundamental to building trust and confidence in the uptake and use of new digital services by EU citizens”, Bouverot wrote.