EC Accelerates Single Telecoms Market Plans

The European Commission is speeding up its proposals for new single telecoms market regulations. The EC will probably present its plans by June rather than the earlier announced target date of October.

The plan is expected to include measures to make cross-border mergers of telecoms providers easier and foster a single consumer market. This could mean, for example, a stronger EU regulator to make decisions at a regional level, as well as practical steps such as a European telephone number to cut out roaming charges. Or Spectrum could be set aside that could be awarded on a European license to mobile operators.

EC Vice President Neelie Kroes said,

We are accelerating our efforts. It’s essential for the sector and the wider economy. My number one priority in 2013 is making sure we agree with governments the elements needed to deliver a real single market. Then we will use the rest of this Commission term to put as many of those building blocks in place as we can.

The final draft proposal will be issued in October, but the June blueprint will allow all parties to suggest possible amendments ahead of this to remove objections. The aim is to get the plan approved before the European Parliament elections in 2014. European telecoms industry association ETNO plans to accelerate its proposals as well. Luigi Gambardella, chairman, said,

We are already working with Boston Consulting Group to prepare our plan [and] will present it to the European Commission in a few weeks. We want to stop the decline of the sector. It will be a plan for the growth of the European telecom industry.

Nick White, VP INTUG, said,

"INTUG welcomes Vice President Kroes' continued determination to establish a true single market for telecommunications enabling easier support of cross border online business processes"

Source: FT, INTUG

The aim is to get the plan approved before the European Parliament elections in 2014.

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