Neelie Kroes – A strong telecoms sector in a connected continent

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Now my proposals for the Telecoms Single Market are on the table. And the world hasn’t collapsed. Indeed, financial analysts are being positive on the impact these proposals have on your sector, on you and your competitors.  And at the same time there have been significant developments, in the European and US markets, involving Vodafone but also some of your competitors. I think this is where we need to start: what sort of market do we have in Europe, where are we heading, and what do we need to do to make the sector – and the whole European economy – stronger and more competitive.  I know you share my analysis of the present state of the European telecoms sector. Revenues are down, investments weak. You see little attraction in Europe, and few opportunities to expand.  That troubles me. Not just because of one sector. But because of everything that sector can do for us. From smart cities to cloud computing, eHealth to eGovernment, these are networks that could transform lives, strengthen society, and boost competitiveness.  But that all depends on connectivity. And on a telecoms sector that is strong, dynamic and innovative.

The single market helps much of our economy. It’s time it also boosted the communications that underpin competitiveness.  Today it’s too hard for you to work across the EU’s borders. You shouldn’t have to seek separate authorisations in each country you work in; that’s not what a single market is about. If you can operate anywhere in Europe, you should be able to operate everywhere in Europe! Any operator should be able to serve every European, without discrimination. You should have more consistent access to fixed networks in different countries, streamlining wholesale access to enable consistent, quality services that cross borders. For wireless, spectrum rules and assignment timing need to be more coordinated; and better used, through innovations like spectrum sharing and new rules on public WiFi. Europe is well behind in the 4G roll-out race, and we can’t afford to stay there. Here to read more.

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