ETNO CEO Statement on Achieving Europe’s Digital Single Market
A sustained and pervasive digitalisation of the EU economy is today’s main growth opportunity. Ubiquitous, powerful broadband networks are the prerequisite.
European telecom operators are investing heavily for citizens and for the economy: by 2020, our industry will allocate €86bn to broadband deployment. Despite this effort, a BCG study for ETNO estimates that an investment gap of €106bn will persist unless we take action with major regulatory reforms1.
For this reason, we support the European Commission in its review of the Telecoms Framework and we encourage a swift, broad re-thinking of Europe’s policy and regulatory tool-set for the digital age. It is not about one industry only. It is about the whole economy and offering more to European citizens.
We believe that the following will be critical to achieving Europe’s digital single market.
A mind shift on regulation
Our industry is experiencing technology convergence: high speed internet is available through a range
of technologies such as fibre, upgraded copper, mobile and cable. There is today widespread consensus that the current regulatory framework has not led to the required levels of investment2.
Wholesale regulation needs to change accordingly: we should act now to make it simpler, tech-agnostic and market-based. The required mind shift is clear to us: commercial terms for network access should be the rule; regulation should be the exception. Next generation digital infrastructures should not be regulated at costs. Only in such a context we can deliver faster coverage for all Europeans.
An optimal market structure
Our sector is in need of building scale and markets need to function at optimal levels. Consolidation, which creates that scale, will lead in turn to better outcomes for our customers, especially in light of the increasing demands on networks and services in the future. We want to ensure more investment and higher value for money for customers. For this reason, we believe that competition policy should ensure a comprehensive assessment that includes investment, innovation, efficiency and quality of service.
Consistent & fair rules for all
Communications are the pillar of a modern society. Users are increasingly choosing among services that operate under different regulatory regimes. In markets, new playing fields are being created that are not necessarily level. Regulatory policy needs to keep pace in the interest of all. Privacy and data protection, commercialization of data, transparency and other crucial issues: it is vital that rules are applied consistently across the value chain and that transparency reigns.
Allocating all the necessary spectrum to mobile is the only way to allow the development of the app economy and of the Internet of Things. At the same time, the internet is global and mobile. This is why we need a truly European approach to spectrum allocation. For this reason, we support a political agreement between the European Commission and Governments on how to ensure harmonised spectrum management across the EU.
As the EU moves towards implementing net neutrality rules, it becomes even clearer that network quality and diversification of services are critical to the growth of the digital economy. Connected driving, e-health, new business models for online content distribution: all of this requires network management as well as differentiation of services. This awareness should drive implementation and any future policy debate on the topic.
CEO, Turk Telekom
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 Paulo Neves,
CEO, PT Portugal
Ms Dominique Leroy,
Mr César Alierta Izuel,
Executive Chairman and CEO, Telefónica
Mr Alejandro Plater,
CEO, Telekom Austria Group
Mr Giuseppe Recchi,
Executive Chairman, Telecom Italia
Mr Sigve Brekke,
President and CEO, Telenor Group
Mr Johan Dennelind,
President and CEO, TeliaSonera
 Boston Consulting Group, Five Priorities for Achieving Europe’s Digital Single Market, 2015. Investment gap calculated as the amount of funds missing to achieve the EU Digital Agenda targets.
 Among others: European Commission, 2015, Digital Single Market Strategy; and Bruegel, 2015, Why is Europe lagging on next generation access networks?.