EU

EU regulators expected to axe fixed call price caps

EU telecoms regulators reportedly want to rid the industry of price caps on fixed calls in an attempt to open up and boost the European sector, which is considered weak compared to the US and Asian markets.

MEPs call for universal device charger

European lawmakers have called for a common charger to be used for all mobile handsets sold in the EU. MEPs said that such that introducing a universal charger would reduce waste, cost and hassle for users. A draft outlining the legislation has been informally agreed with the EU’s Council of Ministers.

GSMA’s Bouverot sends operator-backed open letter to Kroes calling for European reform

The director general of the GSMA, Anne Bouverot, has sent an open letter to EC Commissioner Neelie Kroes calling for policy reform that will encourage investment in Europe’s telecoms sector. Bouverot secured endorsements from the CEOs of ten European operators with a combined European mobile customer base of almost three quarters of a billion subscriptions, according to data from Informa’s World Cellular Investors service.

Cameron pledges to work with Germany on Internet of Things

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to work with Germany on research and development on the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G technology and the EU as a single digital market. Cameron made the pledge as he joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel in opening the CeBIT 2014 trade fair in Hanover, Germany.

Spectrum sharing could threaten operator investment says GSMA

Telecoms trade body the GSMA has warned that government efforts to share spectrum usage should “complement but in no way replace” the need for exclusive access spectrum when provisioning mobile broadband services. The body issued a report that assesses two potential licensed shared access scenarios; the first being the release of 50MHz in the 2.3GHz band from 2020 in the EU and the second regarding the release of 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band from 2016 in the US.

European telecoms reform faces delay

Further restrictions on European roaming charges are now likely to be introduced in September or October, rather than July as originally planned. In its initial proposals to reform the EU telecoms market, the European Commission intended to ban incoming call charges for roaming citizens within the region by July 1st 2014.

Kroes calls for education and employment reform

European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, this week outlined her intentions to transform education across the EU using information and communications technology (ICT). Kroes, along with the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Sport, Media and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, plan to unveil new proposals to reform education in Europe next week.

European Commission outlines single telecoms market package

The European Commission has outlined its plan for a single EU telecoms market. The package calls for the abolition of roaming rates within the EU, spectrum assignment to be coordinated across the continent, consumer rights to be harmonised across Europe, EU-wide protection of net neutrality and simpler rules across the EU to enable companies invest more and cross borders with their offerings.

EC grants 800MHz delays to nine Member States

The European Commission has allowed nine Member States further postponements to their obligation to make 800MHz spectrum available for mobile broadband use. All states originally agreed to meet a January 2013 deadline but a number have yet to comply. There were 14 requests for further postponements, accounting for half of all Member States.

Challenges for EU mobile operators

The European mobile telecoms industry is now at the maturity stage of its life cycle. While the introduction of LTE is still a relatively recent event, there is limited revenue growth and consolidation is starting to set in. Rather than being challengers, in some ways mobile operators themselves have started to look like the old fixed line operators at the start of the telecoms market liberalisation in the 1980s.

EC raids European operators over anti-competitive practices

The European Union’s antitrust regulators have raided the offices of several European mobile operator groups. Deutsche Telekom has confirmed that it was one of the firms raided, while Orange and Telefonica were reportedly targeted as well. The operators are suspected of abusing their dominant position in the market.

EC asks German regulator to lower mobile termination rates

The European Commission has asked Germany’s telecoms regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), to amend or withdraw its plans to make mobile termination rates (MTR) for operators in the country more than 80 per cent higher than most other EU member states.

Rural communities key to Europe’s superfast broadband target

Despite all households in the European Union now having access to basic internet connectivity, significant challenges remain before the same can be said of high-speed services, not least of which is the high cost of wiring up rural areas, according to UK research firm Point Topic.

GSMA says Kroes’ roaming comments “unfortunate”

The chief government and regulatory affairs officer of GSMA, Tom Phillips, has responded to last week’s speech from Neelie Kroes, in which the European commissioner for the digital agenda called for the creation of a single European telecoms market by describing her comments as “unfortunate”.

Kroes wants EU single telecoms market reform by 2014

The vice president for the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe, Neelie Kroes, has issued a call for the formation of a single EU telecoms market before the next European election. The European Commissioner voiced her intent to oversee the reform of the EU telecoms market by Easter 2014, claiming that it would be good for Europe’s economy.

EC’s super-fast broadband estimates challenged

Providing super-fast broadband to the whole of the European Union could be much less expensive than previously thought, according to UK research firm Point Topic, which estimates that the whole economic area could be served for €80bn – less than a third of the €270bn estimated by the European Commission in its Digital Agenda.

EU’s €9bn broadband fund wiped out

After a tense few days of wrangling over budget cuts by Europe’s political leaders, it was scarcely good news for the €9.2bn pot of funding for broadband networks championed by Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Digital Agenda.

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