Mobile Industry Demands European Regulatory Revamp
EU regulators face unhappy calls for a regulatory revamp in the region, moving to policies which allow cost-effective deployment of 5G, drive development of the digital economy and cut inequality in access to technology. Telefonica and industry association the GSMA added to comments from ETNO and Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm who pointed out issues hampering Europe’s progress in 5G and highlighting risks to the digital economy from outdated regulations.
The GSMA published a document, which sets out a series of measures required to help the mobile industry support digital aims and aid Europe’s economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In it, the association noted the continent needed a market environment that encourages critical infrastructure investment, highlighting current policies which had proven a stumbling block to investment.
Among the recommendations were adoption of policies which don’t undermine infrastructure investment, improve merger review processes to take into account the changing competitive landscape, fair spectrum pricing and assignment policies, and encouragement of network sharing deals. The GSMA also called for an internationally coordinated approach to encourage an open-RAN ecosystem and an easing of logistical complications for accessing sites for infrastructure.
Hours before the release of the GSMA’s wishlist, Telefonica CEO Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete stressed similar concerns to EU regulators. He emphasized that the region needs to review its traditional regulation to deal with the 5G revolution. “Telecoms regulation remains the great frustration of European network operators. If regulation continues to focus on price pressure, the industry will not be able to address investments for fibre and 5G deployments or new data services, and European citizens will be left behind in the digital transition,” said Telefonica chief.