The CEOs of nine major European operators have endorsed a letter by industry body the GSMA, which outlined five key elements the signatories believe are essential to ensure the success of a single telecoms market.
The open letter, sent by GSMA’s Director General Anne Bouverot to European Commission VP Neelie Kroes, was signed by the chief executives of Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telekom Austria, Telenor, TeliaSonera, VimpelCom and Vodafone as well as the Deputy Chairman of Hutchison Whampoa Europe.
It shared Kroes’ view that the region's telecoms sector needs to be modernised.
However, the first change needed is the modernisation of regulation to remove “outdated and unnecessary layers of regulation” and to harmonise it at a European level.
The consistent application of rules “irrespective of the technology being used, who is providing the service or where individuals are located” is also required.
Second, the letter said that the antitrust structure should be updated to support market-driven restructuring and consolidation.
There are a number of deals currently undergoing competition scrutiny, including E-Plus in Germany and O2 in Ireland.
Third, the management of Europe’s spectrum assets should be reformed to focus on the “timely release of new capacity that is harmonised across the single market” and to allow for allocation that can drive long-term growth and investment.
Fourth, there is a need for a level playing field for all in order “to open up opportunities for all players to offer competing new internet services” and, specifically, give operators “commercial freedom to develop new business models, innovate at the network and service level, and offer customised services”.
Finally, it is essential to address “the current patchwork of [privacy and security] regulations, which compromises the effective and consistent protection of consumers across the digital value chain”, the letter said.