CEOs of leading operators pressed Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, to speed up reform of the telecoms sector, which has become deadlocked between the council and European Commission (EC).
According to the Financial Times, the heads of Deutsche Telekom, KPN, Orange and Telefonica, among others, signed a letter to Tusk and the 28 heads of member states, calling for “a fast track of targeted regulatory reforms”.
The council and the commission are at an impasse over the latter’s package of telecoms reforms.
EU commissioner for digital economy & society, Guenther Oettinger, held a meeting last week (12 June) in a bid to end the stalemate over issues such as roaming and net neutrality. He appears to have made little progress.
Andrus Ansip, the EU’s vice president for the digital single market, last month unveiled his proposals for an overhaul of telecoms rules, including more effective spectrum allocation, incentives for investment in high-speed broadband and ensuring a level playing field for all market players.
The letter from operators mentions that telecoms reforms should address “asymmetries between traditional ecommunications providers and internet players”. The operators are pushing for equal regulation for operators as well as entrants such as Whatsapp.
The letter backs a “profound and sustainable overhaul of the current telecoms rules, providing for a future-proof common framework for all digital services, taking into account dramatic changes in markets, consumers’ habits and new positions of market power in the digital economy”.
Investors have pointed to regulation as the most significant factor in shaping European telecoms, it continues, “underlining that compared to other areas of the world the EU is the region facing the harshest regulation”.
Next week, a meeting of the European Council will call for ambitious reform of the telecoms sector, the latest attempt to make headway on what has become a torturous process.