GSMA makes latest plea for swift reform on EU's 5G plans


The GSMA has urged the European Union to move "quickly and boldly" on spectrum policy if the continent's operators are to reestablish themselves as "global technology leaders".

The EU's Telecoms Council is meeting today (4 December) to discuss the latest progress on European Electronic Communications Code, which aims to shake up the current regulatory framework across the continent and encourage competition. It also wants to make spectrum available to operators by 2020.

However, in a statement this morning, telcos repeated their call for "greater certainty and predictability" for spectrum licenses, which they said were critical for the correct implementation of 5G services.

[Read more: ETNO calls on EU to save telecoms reform]

Afke Schaart, Vice President Europe, GSMA, said: “Europe has an opportunity to reestablish itself as a global technology leader as we move toward the 5G era, but this can only happen if policymakers move quickly and boldly to make the necessary regulatory reforms to boost the region’s competitiveness on the global stage and bring innovative services to Europe’s citizens.

“A forward-looking regulatory environment designed to encourage long-term investment and innovation in Europe’s digital infrastructure is essential to maintaining a vibrant European mobile ecosystem and delivering the European Commission’s vision for a ‘Gigabit Society’.”

Other changes the EU wishes to make to current policies is insuring there is enough capacity to meet demand for the Internet of Things and simplifying "a lack of coherence" in diverging regulatory frameworks.

Agreement on the content of the Code has a deadline of June 2018.

Recent research from the GSMA said there will be 214 million 5G connections in Europe by 2025, when next generation networks will cover 75 percent of the continent's population.

According to Ericsson, there will be one billion 5G connections in Europe by 2023, a market share of 16 percent and lagging behind the United States and Asia.