- Working groups
Brussels, 11 April 2018 – In today’s digital age, receiving an SMS to safely finalise an online payment, using an instant messaging app, or enjoying seamless connectivity and compelling content at home or on the go have become commonplace. As consumer habits evolve, it is essential that consumer rules also adapt accordingly.
Today, the European Commission presented a “New Deal for Consumers”, aimed at modernising the Union’s consumer laws. While we welcome the initiative, the GSMA and ETNO believe it is essential that consistent consumer standards apply across industries and emphasise the importance of an evidence-oriented approach to enforcement.
The GSMA and ETNO support the principle of ensuring more efficient and consistent consumer protection standards across service markets and Member States. Rather than creating sector-specific rules, today’s digital consumers would benefit from clear, simple and horizontal rules that apply to all companies offering similar services.
With new technologies and services emerging, transparency becomes a key tool to address any gaps in consumer regulation. Transparency allows for informed consumer choice and it enables them to choose among different commercial services. For instance, consumers need to be aware of whether a service is provided against a monetary payment or in the context of a “free” model based on the use of their personal data.
The GSMA and ETNO underscore the importance of an evidence-oriented approach to enforcement. It is essential that existing regulation is being properly enforced before introducing new, and perhaps unnecessary, rules. Enforcement should always be proportionate, aimed at achieving the intended objectives, and it should take into account any existing national enforcement tool, not only in general law but also in sector-specific regulation.
Consumer trust depends on the consistent application and enforcement of rules across industries. To that end, the GSMA and ETNO would welcome a more harmonised approach, ensuring that consumer protection rules are respected and enforced equally across all industries.
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.
ETNO has been the voice of Europe’s telecommunication network operators since 1992 and has become the principal policy group for European electronic communications network operators. Its 41 members and observers from Europe and beyond are the backbone of Europe’s digital progress. They are the main drivers of broadband and are committed to its continual growth in Europe. ETNO members are pan-European operators that also hold new entrant positions outside their national markets.
For the GSMA, Olivier Lechien
PR Director, Europe
+32 (0) 479 99 01 63
GSMA Press Office
For ETNO, Alessandro Gropelli
Director of Communications
+32 (0) 476 94 18 39