16 June, 2015

Telecom CEOs' letter to Heads of State and Government ahead of the European Council of 25 June 2015

Here is a copy of the letter that a group of Telecom CEOs addressed to the Heads of State and Government on 16 June 2015.

Dear President Donald Tusk,

With European economies undergoing a profound digital transformation driven by technology and increasing availability of fast broadband access, we would like to express our views on the urgent need for effective regulatory reform in the digital field.

The digitalisation of traditional industries is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, as well as a challenge, that Europe needs to master for future growth and job creation. We are now on the edge of a digital investment and infrastructure revolution; telecom operators stand ready to make this a reality. In this light, we believe that European policy should do its utmost to support investment and innovation by the EU telecoms sector.

Leading investors have identified regulation as the “single most important driver” of the sector, underlining that - compared to other areas of the world - the EU is the region facing the harshest regulation*. For this reason, we ask for urgent reforms to remove regulatory barriers to more investment in digital infrastructure.

We are encouraged by the new Digital Single Market Strategy, which includes positive initiatives in this regard. We therefore ask the European Council to express support for a pro-investment policy approach that translates into fast and concrete actions, as robust infrastructures are the backbone of the digital economy and should be prioritised accordingly.

In this context, we believe that political commitment is required in the following areas:

  • To ensure that the final rules enshrined in the Telecom Single Market regulation do not harm innovation and investment, e.g. by limiting innovation in networks and new business models;

  • To initiate a fast-track set of targeted regulatory reforms in the field of access regulation, spectrum management and asymmetries between traditional e-communication providers and internet players;

  • To significantly reduce the current regulatory burdens on the sector by applying existing rules in a way to improve the conditions for investment in high-speed networks;

  • To support a profound and sustainable overhaul of the current telecoms rules, providing for a future proof common framework for all digital services, taking into account dramatic changes in markets, consumers’ habits and new positions of market power in the digital economy**; the aim should be to support the global competitiveness of EU industry.

We believe that both the European Institutions and the European industry share an underlying common objective: to give Europe the best growth opportunities, by supporting European citizens and businesses with smart services and powerful digital infrastructures. The Digital Single Market Strategy represents an opportunity that we should embrace together.

Your sincerely, 

Mr Eelco Blok,
Chairman of the Board of Management and CEO, KPN

Mr Timotheus Höttges,
CEO, Deutsche Telekom

Mr Stéphane Richard,
Chairman and CEO, Orange

Mr Armando Pereira,
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Portugal Telecom

Ms Dominique Leroy,
CEO, Proximus

Mr Urs Schaeppi,
CEO, Swisscom

Mr César Alierta Izuel,
Executive Chairman and CEO, Telefónica

Mr Hannes Ametsreiter,
CEO, Telekom Austria Group

Mr Marco Patuano,
CEO, Telecom Italia

Mr Jon Fredrik Baksaas,
President and CEO, Telenor Group

Mr Johan Dennelind,
President and CEO, TeliaSonera

* HSBC Global Research, Regulatory Heatmap, October 2014

** October 2013 European Council Conclusions underlined the importance of addressing the bottlenecks in accessing one’s “digital life” from different platforms, which persist due to a lack of interoperability or lack of portability of content and data.

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