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04 December 2017
| James Pearce
The European Telecommunication Network Operators' Association (ETNO) and the GSMA have both urged the EU Telecoms Council to take strong action over reform plans ahead of the Council’s next meeting today (4 December).
The GSMA welcomed the Estonian presidency’s
decision to place plans for 5G high on the Telecoms
Council’s agenda, with the mobile industry body
previously warning Europe could fall behind in 5G deployments
should it fail to address reform of key legislation.
On this theme, the GSMA continued to warn that "significant
action" is needed in the reform of the European Electronic
Communications Code (EECC), currently the topic of negotiation,
in order to support 5G investment.
The GSMA wants European bureaucrats to provide greater
certainty around spectrum licences that will play a key role in
the future of 5G.
"Europe has an opportunity to reestablish itself as a global
technology leader as we move toward the 5G era, but this can
only happen if policymakers move quickly and boldly to make the
necessary regulatory reforms to boost the region’s
competitiveness on the global stage and bring innovative
services to Europe’s citizens," said Afke Schaart,
vice president Europe, GSMA.
"A forward-looking regulatory environment designed to
encourage long-term investment and innovation in
Europe’s digital infrastructure is essential to
maintaining a vibrant European mobile ecosystem and delivering
the European Commission’s vision for a 'Gigabit
ETNO also got in on the lobbying act, releasing a statement
that called for "an ambitious political drive" to achieve the
European Commission’s call for a Gigabit
ETNO challenged telecoms ministers to remained focussed on
investment in fibre and 5G by making sure any changes do not
lead to "increased regulatory pressure" which would "harm 5G,
fibre deployment, and consumer choice."
ETNO warned that pro-investment and co-investment measures
in the original Commission proposal are being "aggressively
"They were designed to overcome the wait-and-see approach,
while maintaining regulation only where necessary. Today,
alternative operators invest at a slower pace as they can
obtain regulated offers for access. At the same time, network
owners do not invest as much as they could because returns are
artificially suppressed by wholesale regulation. Fostering
investment and competition also requires that provisions for
investment incentives apply to all operators, irrespective of
whether their business model is wholesale-only or vertically
ETNO also warned that current proposals for spectrum
licenses would not deliver on 5G deployments, whilst also
highlighting the introduction of "Joint Dominance" rules, which
would reverse the cardinal principle that more competition must
lead to less regulation. This has already sent chilling signals
to markets and it will create unprecedented uncertainty."
Another key topic said to be discussed is the future of the
Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications
(BEREC), with ministers reportedly expected to reject a plan to
give it’s a new mandate that would increase its
The EC had proposed merging BEREC, which is a forum of
national telecoms regulators, with a small agency called the
Berec Office. This would make BEREC a fully-fledged EU
Reports form the continent claim the Council is likely to
reject this proposals, saying Berec should not be able to adopt
binding decisions, as proposed by the commission. MEPs have
also opposed the proposal.