GSMA: Key areas where appropriate EU policy and regulation can help regain lost technology leadership

The GSMA report ‘Mobile Economy Europe 2013’ presented yesterday outlines a number of key areas where appropriate EU policy and regulation can help regain lost technology leadership by encouraging investment, reducing barriers to consolidation, enabling innovation and building consumer confidence.

Encouraging Investment Through Spectrum Harmonisation 
A more coordinated pan-European approach to spectrum release and harmonisation can help underpin further investments in broadband connectivity. The EU has indicated that a total of 1200MHz of spectrum should be allocated by 2015 to meet the expected growth in data traffic, but only an average of 600MHz has already been released and there are delays in allocating the Digital Dividend spectrum in the 800MHz band. If these issues are addressed, it is estimated that up to €119 billion of incremental GDP could be generated over the period to 2020, producing €23 billion of additional tax revenues and creating up to 156,000 new jobs across the region.

Reducing Barriers to Market Consolidation
With Europe home to more than 100 mobile operators as well as nearly 530 MVNOs6, consolidation has become a growing industry issue as operators face inconsistent spectrum policy, ongoing competitive pressures and increasing revenue declines and margin erosion. The European Commission can help reduce barriers to efficient market consolidation by simplifying merger reviews and taking a more cautious approach to the imposition of remedies.

Enabling Innovation in Content and Services
Mobile operators are working to continually expand their portfolios with new products and services that go beyond traditional core voice, SMS and data propositions. The report finds that in order for operators to continue developing new services, they must be free to create business and pricing models that are better aligned with the services that consumers desire and are willing to pay for. A regulatory framework that enables this will be a key driver for innovation.

Building Consumer Confidence in the Use of Mobile Services and Applications 
With mobile now firmly entrenched in consumers’ everyday lives, the industry must continue to proactively address issues such as fraud, spam and privacy concerns. Consumers seek meaningful information and consistent rules that apply for functionally equivalent services. Regulators should not apply prescriptive rules to the information provided to consumers, but rather focus on ensuring transparency across the entire Internet value chain.

“Clearly, the focus needs to be on stimulating investment to achieve long-term economic growth,” continued Bouverot. “The move to a Connected Life, where nearly everything and everyone are connected, presents an important opportunity for Europe to regain its leadership position. Collectively, we must create an environment that will attract and nurture investment in mobile. The single telecoms market initiative presents an important opportunity to enable this and we must get it right.”


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