16 October, 2014

Press Release: ETNO launches the “Think Digital” Agenda, a CEO Committee and elects a new Chairman

European Telecommunication Network Operators gather in Stockholm for 2014 General Assembly

Stockholm (Sweden), 16 October 2014 – Europe’s main telecom operators gathered today in Stockholm for the 46th General Assembly of the ETNO Association. The gathering – chaired by leading telecom operator TeliaSonera – launched ETNO’s vision for the next European Commission term, elected Belgacom’s Steven Tas as the new Chairman of ETNO Executive Board and set up a new CEO Committee.

Our vision: Think digital, reform, prosper

EU citizens and businesses demand superfast networks and innovative digital services. Europe needs a strong digital spine and our economy needs to be fully digitalized in order to boost growth for all. This is a common objective for all Europeans and the incoming digital leaders, Vice-President Andrus Ansip and Commissioner Günther Oettinger, have voiced it on several occasions.

ETNO and its members put forward strong proposals for a new Digital Agenda, based on five main pillars:

  • Developing Powerful Infrastructures, by aligning the regulatory framework to the 3rd investment cycle in 4G and fibre;
  • Supporting a Globally Competitive EU Industry through an updated competition approach and by ensuring a level-playing field among actors in the digital value chain;
  • Increasing End-user Benefits with consistent privacy and security rules and by allowing the development of innovative services;
  • Supporting Digitally Enabled Companies with early incentives for ICT adoption and EU-wide projects in areas as diverse as automation, smart-cities or mobility ;
  • Promoting Enriched Citizenship and Welfare with strong demand-side policies, solid interoperability practices and a focus on digital literacy.

According to analyses developed by Arthur D. Little for ETNO, the European telecoms sector will contribute with an investment capacity of €250 billion over the next five years. If we fully implement a new Digital Agenda, the economic multiplier can be up to 13 times the initial investment. This means that a full implementation of the internet economy is a trillion-euro opportunity.

Read the full ETNO’s Agenda for Europe at this link.

A strong governance for the new Term

As a new Term of the European Commission is about to start, ETNO is adding ambition to its governance with a view of offering an even stronger platform for dialogue between industry and the EU institutions.

The General Assembly approved today the creation of a CEO Committee. This Committee will set ETNO’s strategic objectives and it will provide a platform for top level dialogue on EU policies among ETNO’s telecoms executives.

Luigi Gambardella, ETNO Chairman 2014, said: “Today ETNO sets up a Committee of CEOs to add even greater political relevance to its actions. ETNO is the strong voice of telecom operators and has been since 1992 and we want to continue providing top level input to the EU Institutions”.

Steven Tas, Director Regulatory at Belgacom, was elected by the General Assembly as the new Chairman of the ETNO Executive Board, succeeding Luigi Gambardella, Vice President for international affairs at Telecom Italia – who served for the past four years.

I am very honoured to serve as ETNO Executive Board Chairman for 2015. I would like to thank ETNO members for the trust they demonstrated with today’s vote. I also express all my gratitude to the outgoing Chairman Gambardella, who has done an extraordinary job in advocating for a digitalized Europe, where telcos investments play a vital role for the future growth of the Continent”, said Steven Tas.

He also added: “2015 will be a pivotal year for Europe. European telcos must return to growth and contribute to Europe’s renaissance. We’ll work with all European stakeholders to develop positive digital policies aimed at empowering Europe’s growth. It is time for more ambitious reforms that will put Europe back at the forefront of the global digital race”.


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