19 April, 2024

GSMA and ETNO welcome Letta’s report, call for Member States to support the EC White Paper on digital infrastructure needs

ETNO and the GSMA, the industry associations representing Europe’s leading telecom operators, welcome Enrico Letta’s high-level reportMuch More Than A Market”, published this week by the European Council. In this context, we encourage Member States to support swift legislative action in the new institutional cycle, with top priority, as a follow-up to the White Paper on “How to master Europe’s digital infrastructure needs?”.

We share the view expressed in Enrico Letta’s report that geopolitical, societal and environmental trends all point to the need for “a new single market for a larger world” as, today, “European companies suffer from a stunning size deficit compared to their global competitors, primarily from the United States and China”. This has an impact on the whole of the European economy and it affects the competitiveness of a diverse range of industrial sectors.

We welcome Letta’s recognition that “a healthy and secure electronic communications sector is crucial for the green transition, innovation, and resilience of the Union” and that the current investment gap in gigabit connectivity is no longer acceptable. Ensuring all of our citizens and businesses are included in the digital age depends on the widespread availability of advanced and secure connectivity.

We welcome the call for completing the EU telecom single market and revamping our telecoms rulebook in light of today’s changing needs in the fields of consumer welfare, security and industrial competitiveness. In addition, we support Letta’s view that the creation of a true Single Market means that “due consideration should be given to the necessity of some level of consolidation within national markets”.

As urgent action is now of essence, Enrico Letta’s report points to the European Commission’s White Paper on “How to master Europe’s digital infrastructure needs?” as a first step to address the shortcomings of Europe’s connectivity policies.

ETNO and the GSMA therefore encourage Member States to express their strong support for the White Paper’s call to action. As representatives of the European telecoms sector, we believe that reform is no longer deferrable.

The time for ensuring leadership over the fast-evolving connectivity value chain is now. The US, China and other global peers are already ahead of the EU both in terms of per capita investment and of deployment of advanced 5G networks. The EU currently faces a €200bn shortfall in network investment that, left unaddressed, will undermine the continent’s socio-economic ambitions and security. Telecom networks are essential to transforming industries, driving innovation, improving sustainability, and ensuring the inclusion of all EU-citizens in our socio-economic system.

We look forward to supporting European policymakers as they deliver a new legislative initiative, the Digital Networks Act, for reform in this vital market, which underpins the future of Europe as a digital powerhouse.

© ETNO 2024
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