GSMA puts out one final plea for spectrum sanity

With a crucial Ministerial Council Meeting looming, where the European Electronic Communication Code will be discussed at length, the GSMA has put out a final appeal for reform.

The GSMA stance has not changed, and neither has it’s vocal PR campaign; reforming telecoms regulation is a crucial step to foster investment and innovation. The European Electronic Communication Code is an opportunity to create new policies and regulatory foundation to build the basis of the connected economy, but there are fears over the current path being tread by bureaucrats.

“Although the European Union’s vision of a ‘Gigabit Society’, and recent discussions amongst the European Heads of State, demonstrate a strong ambition to recapture the region’s digital leadership and harness the full power of digital to drive growth, jobs and competitiveness, we do not see action focused on delivering tangible results,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, in the letter.

Granryd seems to be saying something very simple here; thinking big is fine, but if you carry on this direction, you will mess it up. It might frustrating to watch, and there will always be need for vocal criticism in the industry, but Granryd perhaps needs to appreciate he is appealing to civil servants. There are plenty of good ideas in the public sector offices, but more often than not, a lack of drive/resources/talent to achieve them.

The concern here is over Europe’s stance on spectrum management, which Granryd and his GSMA cronies believes need to be reformed. More specifically around the following areas:

  • More certainty and predictability for spectrum licenses
  • Minimum licence duration of 25 years with a strong presumption of renewal
  • Voluntary spectrum sharing to enable competition, innovation and differentiation
  • Fee structures that are reflective of efficient and effective use of spectrum as well as coverage commitments

Granryd’s worry is surrounding the status quo, and whether it will be preserved. This position would leave too much differentiation in the European markets, and a fragmented market is no good for anyone. The single market allows Europe to play the same game as the US or China, for instance, but whether this is an achievable dream remains to be seen. Change is difficult, but change is needed to ensure a successful transition to the digital economy. Granryd is clearly a bit nervous.

We don’t like it when organizations feel the need to moan, especially through a letter, but you have to have a bit of sympathy for Granryd. Perhaps it is precedent set by public sector organizations, or the lofty assumption European heritage will take it back to a leadership role in the connected economy, but there is a risk of the easy, frictionless path will be taken.

The easy path is the preservation of the status quo, so Granryd might indeed have something to moan about before too long.

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