GSMA issues new challenge to EC over spectrum reform

James Pearce
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GSMA director general Mats Granryd has penned a letter to European chiefs challenging them over reform of the European Electronic Communication Code

The GSMA has upped pressure on the European Union to reform legislation or face falling behind other regions in the race to deploy 5G technologies.

In an open letter to European Council leaders, GSMA director general Mats Granryd said proposed changes to the European Electronic Communication Code could disrupt the EU’s vision of creating a ‘Gigabit Society’.

Granryd claimed that maintaining the original targets of the code would enable Europe to take back its position as a technology leader and “harness the full power of digital to drive growth, jobs and competitiveness”.

GSMA figures predict more than one-third of European mobile connections could be running on 5G, not expected to be widely deployed until 2020, by 2025. However, to achieve this, the industry body claims, depends on reforming telecoms regulation to “foster investment and innovation”, Granryd wrote.

He urged “all European institutions to maintain pressure to reform the telecom framework”; a reference to European Parliament calls to amend some of the key proposals of the code.

Granryd challenged Europe to introduce more certainty for spectrum licences, by boosting minimum durations to 25 years; introduce an efficient peer-review mechanism to sput best practice; launch voluntary spectrum sharing to promote competition, innovation and differentiation; and create a fees structure.

He concludes that “now is the time for bold action to reform spectrum management if Europe has any hope of regaining a leadership position in digital technologies. Sticking with the status quo will keep Europe fragmented, ensuring that we will fall behind other regions and fail to achieve a truly Digital Single Market. 

“I encourage all of us to leverage our heritage as a mobile pioneer with GSM to make the kind of step change needed to incentivise connectivity investment, promoting the roll out of advanced mobile solutions across industries and public services. To be clear, this is about much more than just making the business environment for mobile operators sustainable. This is about what is essential to the long-term societal and economics needs of Europe.”