Europe’s digital future hinges on regulation

The GSMA manifesto ahead of European Parliament Elections calls on policymakers in Europe to modernise regulation and create the right conditions for digital connectivity (intelligent connectivity).

Europe has the highest rate of mobile connectivity compared with other regions, and the mobile industry’s contribution to the EU’s GDP is projected to grow from €550 billion annually to €720 billion by 2022. Supported by the right policy environment, Europe has the potential to increase 5G take-up to 30 per cent of all connections by 2025.

“Our networks have made Europe stronger enabling citizens and businesses to reap the benefits of digital transformation,” said Afke Schaart, VP & Head of Europe, GSMA.

“As we enter an era of intelligent connectivity there is much more that connectivity can make possible — for a greener planet, more liveable cities, more efficient industries and more united societies. For citizens to benefit from this innovation, we must address the barriers holding back the mobile industry in Europe through progressive regulation. Our industry is at the heart of the digital experience, and with our manifesto for Europe we are ready to work together with policymakers to invigorate Europe’s economies,” added Schaart.

On the network infrastructure side the policy environment in Europe is cited as not sufficiently supportive of network investment. The challenge is how to meet government’s coverage obligations even where there is no business justification for it. It has been estimated that the rollout cost for 5G across Europe will be significantly higher than for 4G, at between €300 billion and €500 billion.

The GSMA is calling on national regulators to foster innovation and investment, rather than simply transferring regulation for today’s products to tomorrow’s highly differentiated 5G networks. It is inviting governments to improve the investment environment through lower spectrum fees and siting costs, and reviewing telecoms-specific taxes.

On services, the manifesto highlights that we are at a critical moment of declining trust in digital services. Operators are also calling for a new network security reference for Europe, leveraging the expertise of the operator community and building on existing accepted national and international standards and best practice.

“Working with governments, we will lead and champion innovation that will help Europe take advantage of the huge technological changes we see,” added Schaart.

 

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