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Lack of ambition on EU spectrum reform will slow down the 5G ambition


03 May 2017


Lack of ambition on EU spectrum reform will slow down the 5G ambition
Joint Statement by ETNO and the GSMA
Brussels, 3 May 2017: The telecoms industry is concerned about the current legislative debate on the future of mobile connectivity and spectrum management in Europe. As the European Parliament and Member States discuss amendments to the draft European Electronic Communications Code, ETNO and the GSMA fear that legislators have abandoned their ambitions for 5G roll-out in Europe.
5G and the gigabit society require ambitious spectrum reform
5G is set to empower citizens and businesses with widespread ultra-fast connectivity and innovative new  services.  The  European  industry  and  the  European  Commission have  set ambitious  plans to launch  by  2020,  in  the  context  of a  global  race  to  make  the  most  out  of 5G. The  technology  and regulatory requirements were set out in the European Commission’s “5G Action Plan” as well as in theindustry’s “Manifesto” for timely deployment of 5G in Europe”. Both documents identify spectrum reform as the main pre-condition to a timely roll-out of new 5G networks and services.
Further,  spectrum  measures  in  the  Code  have  been  identified  as  one  of  the  major  pro-investment aspects of the on-going telecoms reform. This makes them extremely relevant to the achievement of both Europe’s 5G objectives and of a European Gigabit Society.
Essential elements of spectrum reform
Our members are committed to achieving the 5G and gigabit society objectives, but Europe’s ambition needs to be mirrored in all the upcoming legislative choices. In particular, legislators should recognize the importance of greater predictability and licensing clarity as tools to incentivise continuous investment in mobile networks, vibrant innovation and competitive mobile markets. This investment is critical if Europe is to be a front-runner in mobile broadband and 5G. 
For  these  reasons, ETNO  and  the  GSMA  believe  that several  aspects  of the  Commission proposal should be maintained or strengthened, as they constitute an essential pre-requisite for the achievement of the goals set out in the 5G Action Plan. More specifically, we call on the co-legislators to:
  • Ensure greater certainty and predictability over future rights of use;
  • Ensure predictability of all licensing conditions; 
  • Support easier spectrum trading and leasing proposals;
  • Allow for a neutral approach in terms of general authorisations and spectrum sharing, and ensure alignment with international rules in terms of interferences;
  • Encourage greater consistency among Member States in approaches to spectrum awards;
  • Continue  enabling  freedom to  compete  and  differentiate  through  voluntary  sharing  and  under competition law, as opposed to introducing ex-ante regulatory measures.
Lise Fuhr, Director General of ETNO, said: “The EU institutional debate risks delaying a major source of societal and economic growth. 5G is the essential platform to provide new services to consumers and businesses”.
Afke Schaart, Vice-President Europe at GSMA, said: “European legislators are now at a watershed moment. The level of ambition to roll out 5G in Europe asserted in the European Electronic Communications Code, must now be maintained to ensure that the European citizens reap the benefits of innovation brought about by the ‘Gigabit Society’”.  
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with almost 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.
For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA and @GSMAPolicy
About ETNO
ETNO has been the voice of Europe’s telecommunication network operators since 1992 and has become the principal policy group for European electronic communications network operators. Its 41 members and observers from Europe and beyond are the backbone of Europe’s digital progress. They are the main drivers of broadband and are committed to its continual growth in Europe. ETNO members are pan-European operators that also hold new entrant positions outside their national markets.
For more information, see ETNO’s website at Follow ETNO on Twitter:
Media Contacts
For GSMA, Olivier Lechien
PR Director, Europe
+32 (0) 479 99 01 63
GSMA Press Office
For ETNO, Alessandro Gropelli
Director of Communications
+32 (0) 476 94 18 39


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