Operators urge EC to quicken telecoms reform

Operators urge EC to quicken telecoms reform

A group of CEOs from leading European operators have urged the president of the European Council to speed up regulatory reform of the telecoms market.

Deutsche Telekom, KPN, Orange and Telefonica are among the operators to have signed the letter sent to Donald Tusk and 28 EU heads of state expressing support for a pro-investment policy approach that translates into fast and concrete actions.

“Leading investors have identified regulation as the ‘single most important driver’ of the sector, underlining that - compared to other areas of the world - the EU is the region facing the harshest regulation,” said the letter. “For this reason, we ask for urgent reforms to remove regulatory barriers to more investment in digital infrastructure.” 

Referring to the digitalisation of traditional industries as a once-in-a-generation opportunity, as well as a challenge, the CEOs said Europe is presently on the edge of a digital investment and infrastructure revolution. “In this light, we believe that European policy should do its utmost to support investment and innovation by the EU telecoms sector.” 

The group emphasised that political commitment is needed to ensure that the final rules in the telecoms single market regulation do not harm innovation and investment. 

It also sought a fast track set of targeted regulatory reforms in the field of access regulation, spectrum management and asymmetries between traditional e-communication and internet players. Present regulatory burdens on the sectors should be reduced to improve the conditions for investment in high-speed networks, they added. 

The CEOs said that ultimately the aim should be to support the global competitiveness of the EU industry. 

“We believe that both the European Institutions and the European industry share an underlying common objective: to give Europe the best growth opportunities, by supporting European citizens and businesses with smart services and powerful digital infrastructures. The Digital Single Market Strategy represents an opportunity that we should embrace together,” the letter concluded.

Next week, a meeting of the European Council is expected to call for an ambitious reform of the telecoms industry. 

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