think digital
European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association

ETNO ThinkDigital interview: Gigabit Society, 3 digital leaders advocate for an innovation-ready Continent


As European ministers gear up for the Telecoms Council on December 6, the three women leading Brussels’ main telecom and tech associations, jointly express their vision and concerns in a #ThinkDigital interview. The video features Lise Fuhr, Director General of ETNO, Afke Schaart, VP and Head of Europe at the GSMA and Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE.
In the interview, they discuss 5G, the Gigabit Society ambition, Europe’s innovation scene as well as the corresponding policy and regulatory enablers required for their implementation and development. On the Gigabit Society, Lise Fuhr believes that “it will change the way in which our society works” whilst for the industry side “telcos are strong enablers of how the industry is working and how their productivity can be enhanced.” Afke Schaart adds that “5G is all about the digital transformation for Europe”. And the 5G revolution is happening at a rapid pace: “The GSMA predicts that by 2025, well over 200 million Europeans will be using mobile technologies over this new network”, concludes Schaart. Bonefeld-Dahl looks at Europe as being a strong actor on innovation with “a huge base of SMEs in tech” and “huge industrial base digitalising their businesses right now” with “around 75% of the growth that they generate coming from this digitalisation”.
However, 5G and the Gigabit Society will not be happening without the right regulatory enablers. Lise Fuhr calls on EU legislators to come up with “a new regulatory agenda that is actually looking into the future and supports better investment”. Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl adds that “if we become too protectionist and we over-regulate, it could really be damaging to the innovation and the growth of Europe”. Afke Schaart highlights that “the Code is very important for the future of Europe when it comes to 5G” and concludes that “the right spectrum policy can make or break the introduction of the 5G in Europe”.

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