01 August, 2022

ETNO response to EC call for evidence on EU position for WRC-23

ETNO appreciates the opportunity to provide comments to the European Commission Call for Evidence on the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 EU position.

ETNO emphasizes the importance of spectrum policy in reaching the European Union Digital targets. Mobile operators are engaged to fulfil the 2025 Gigabit and 2030 Digital Compass objectives. However, we need the EC and member states to carefully consider in all their work how to reflect the targets in a well-designed spectrum policy. This is critical, otherwise we risk staying far behind the targets and behind other markets.

European policymakers have had a strong focus on ensuring competition and low customer prices, which has also led to the situation that European mobile market has lower revenues, and slower 5G take-off compared to the North American and East Asian peers. European mobile and fixed telecoms service revenue decreased by 18% over the decade between 2009 and 2019 while the level of investment sustained by telecom operators has remained stable. Communication services in the EU have suffered earlier and deeper price erosion than other global leaders such as the US, South Korea or Japan.

Sufficient spectrum availability in low, mid, and high bands, with reasonable prices and feasible conditions, is critical for supporting the Digital targets, and continuously increasing society demands for mobile broadband connectivity. In addition to ensuring that already harmonized IMT spectrum bands are awarded and licenses renewed with approaches that support a sustainable mobile market, additional spectrum will be needed for meeting future demands.

ETNO would like to underline the importance of the Conference decisions for the EU policies and the development of mobile equipment ecosystem for supporting the future society demands. The outcomes of WRC-23 will be paramount to achieve a predictable supply of new harmonized spectrum to enable the growth of the mobile broadband, which is an important driver of economic growth in all European member states. In particular, decisions on the WRC-23 agenda items 1.2, 1.3 and 1.5 on additional spectrum resources for mobile connectivity will be critical for achieving the Digital targets for people and businesses and the future performance and deployment of IMT technologies in Europe. European society is dependent on broadband connectivity and demand is continuously increasing which needs to be considered also when deciding on the agenda for the subsequent WRC-27.

For questions and clarifications regarding this position paper, please contact Maarit Palovirta (palovirta@etno.eu) Senior Director Regulatory Affairs and Xhoana Shehu (shehu@etno.eu) Policy Officer at ETNO.

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