European telcos launch data portability specification

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At MWC19 in Barcelona, a group of European operators has launched the first specification for data portability among operators.

The release is an initiative from the Data Portability Cooperation, a working group led by GSMA and including European telcos such as Orange, Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica.

The Group, established a year ago, is collaborating to define a common data portability standard to improve users’ ability to port their personal data as required under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in May 2018.

The Group’s members are trying to balance ensuring that the portability process safeguards the privacy and security of personal data and gives users control over it, while making sure that companies can capture the opportunities offered by the upcoming data economy.

Visitors at MWC will be able to see a demo of the first transference of personal data implemented between Orange and Telefónica, based on this first version of the specification, at the Telefónica booth.

The Group also presented a whitepaper analysing the impact of the GDPR on data management for operators and exploring ways the industry can collaborate to develop new data-based proposals that benefit the consumer.

Data ethics

During his opening keynote, José María Álvarez-Pallete, chairman and CEO of Telefónica, urged the industry to remember its responsibility to use data ethically and transparently.

“Data can be a powerful source for good”, he said, noting that in the new data economy, people need to trust how their personal data is being used and have control over the data they generate.

Álvarez-Pallete called for a new Digital Bill of Rights that lays down fundamental rights for citizens in a digital world.

“We believe that the use of data must be secure and transparent, guided by strict values and ethical standards”, he stressed. 

5G regulation

Álvarez-Pallete also called for a “bold regulatory framework” ahead of the deployment of 5G networks which will require telcos to invest heavily.

“Does competition theory say that Europe needs one mobile operator for every 1 million citizens in Europe?” he asked the audience.

He told attendees that telecoms is the most deflationary sector in Europe and urged governments to allocate spectrum "rationally" and to award it for longer durations. He also said he hopes that the new Commission and Parliament in EU and the new governments elected make the creation of a level playing field their number one priority.

“Connectivity is awesome”

Álvarez-Pallete also used his keynote to big up the key role connectivity plays in the new data economy, with traffic increasing exponentially driven by the explosion of new technologies and services.

“Our sector has become an essential part of people’s lives,” he said. “All these services will be possible thanks to telco infrastructure underpinning the digital world. Technology is amazing, but connectivity is awesome”.