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GSMA applauds EC digital strategy but challenges remain


19 Feb 2020


Innovation & Enterprise
Telco Sector Will Play Strategic Role in Europe’s Digital Roadmap

19 February 2020, Brussels: The GSMA applauds the European Commission’s vision in the Digital Strategy published today, which recognises connectivity as the most fundamental aspect of digitalisation.

To transform Europe into the most connected continent, the Commission and the telecommunications sector must overcome formidable challenges. Many structural changes that still must be addressed in the strategy, including low R&D investment and incentives for investors. To reduce Europe’s dependence on foreign tech companies, the Commission needs to create a sustainable digital industry structure.

The GSMA, which represents more than 200 European telecoms operators, stands ready to work with the Commission to achieve many shared goals for 2025, especially around 5G, cybersecurity, data, digital literacy and climate change.

“Europe’s network operators will form the backbone of the region’s future economy,” said Afke Schaart, VP and Head of Europe, Russia and CIS, GSMA. “We are ready to work with European leaders to deliver secure 5G networks, create a truly single market for data, teach new digital skills and cut greenhouse gases.

“We are at a technological turning point,” she added. “5G offers the potential for Europe to change its paradigm and rebuild its digital sovereignty. We look forward to working with the Commission to develop and deliver a realistic roadmap for success.”

The mobile industry is particularly focused on supporting the Commission’s plan to:

Accelerate gigabit connectivity: The GSMA supports an ambitious revision of the Commission’s Broadband Cost Reduction Directive, which must be expanded to include mobile networks. We are optimistic that the new Spectrum Policy Programme will foster stronger coordination to support faster 5G rollout.

Achieve world-class cybersecurity: To complement Europe’s new 5G security toolbox, the GSMA has developed a security assurance scheme for network equipment, outlined a security framework and established a cyber-information hub for the industry.

Create a genuine single market for data: Our joint goal is to create a genuine single market for data, where personal data are secure and businesses also have easy access to an almost infinite amount of high-quality industrial data.

Digital giants are becoming increasingly dominant and capturing a disproportionate share of the whole ecosystem. Enforcement of European competition law should take this into account when reviewing guidelines and safe harbours. A higher degree of legal certainty will be indispensable to examining new forms of cooperation.

Deliver on the Green Deal: 5G is more efficient at transferring data and will help Europe switch from older, less efficient networks, improving energy efficiency in the long term. In the short term, there is likely to be increased electricity use, but carbon emissions are expected to drop as European operators are investing in more renewable electricity to power their networks. In addition, emissions savings from digital technology were 10-times greater than the global carbon footprint of the mobile industry itself in 2018, and this will only improve with 5G.

Overall, European operators are pursuing, thorough energy efficiency, emission reduction and e-waste programmes supporting the Commission’s goal of being climate neutral by 2050. 


About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators and nearly 400 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 the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

Media Contact:

Noelle Knox

+32 470 45 29 41

GSMA Press Office