Policy group ETNO calls EU’s telecoms overhaul a ‘missed opportunity’

An overhaul of telecoms laws by the EU has been called a ‘missed opportunity’ by the association which represents Europe's operators.

ETNO (European Telecommunications Network Operators) said the Electronic Communications Code (ECC) “represented a once in a decade chance to simplify and improve the EU rules for the sector in the interest of European citizens and businesses.”

However, “this opportunity has been missed.”

The association believes the ECC fails to ignite the much-needed rush to invest in 5G and fibre networks. Furthermore, that it adds complexity to a system already found to be burdensome.

Phillip Malloch, ETNO Executive Board Chair, said:

“The new Code was a once in a decade opportunity to take the policy decisions required for Europe to become a catalyst to investment. This is fundamental to keep pace in the shifting global economy.

It was an opportunity that has been missed. It’s a huge shame that the major investors in infrastructure will face additional and unnecessary headwind in building a true gigabit society.”

Some of the ECC’s key policies include:

  • Introduce a price cap on intra-EU phone calls, further reducing the industry’s revenue following roaming price reductions.

  • Strengthen governance of ‘oligopolies’ in markets where a small number of telecoms companies dominate.

  • Increase spectrum licenses to 20 years, down from the 25 years called for by the industry.

  • Pave the way for more small cells.

ECC was pitched in 2016 by European Commissioners as an industrial policy that would help spur telecoms companies into investing billions in new full fibre and 5G networks to deliver huge economic benefits.

“The Code, in our view, is an unfortunate example of Europe lacking a strong and coherent industrial policy, especially for the digital sector,” says ETNO. “It is now for national authorities to try to match this need.”

Do you agree with ETNO the overhaul is a missed opportunity? Let us know in the comments.

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