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Telefónica CCDO joins chorus calling for European digital improvements

Eduardo Navarro, chief commercial digital officer at Telefónica

The chief commercial digital officer of Spanish incumbent telco, Eduardo Navarro, Telefónica has used a speech at the EC Innovation Convention in Brussels to warn that Europe needs to redouble its efforts to move to the forefront of the global digital sector.

The speech comes in the wake of yesterday’s open letter from GSMA DG Anne Bouverot to European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, backed by ten European operator CEOs, in which Bouverot called for policy reform to encourage improvement in the sector.

While many within the industry have focused on the need for regulatory overhauls, Navarro chose instead to highlight the role that can be played by business, large and small, as well as educational institutions.

“In recent years we have seen much leading technology migrating east and west—away from Europe,” Navarro said. “But now we are starting to see the region regaining its momentum as new opportunities arise in ICT. To accelerate this momentum we need to ensure that technology is open and available to everyone,” he said.

Schools and universities must focus on digital literacy, he said, with the corporate sector reinforcing this work to bring about growth in digital skills and entrepreneurship, he said.

Telefónica has a number of initiatives in place directed towards such improvements, including its Amérigo VC fund, start-up accelerator Wayra, an apprenticeship programme dubbed Talentum and its Campus Party technology festival. Wayra has so far invested in 300 businesses, Telefónica said.

Navarro’s role of chief commercial digital officer was created last month, as part of a far-reaching restructuring programme at Telefónica that sees a number of regional units, including Telefónica Europe, Telefónica Latin America and Telefónica Digital being absorbed into global operations.

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