ETNO calls on EU to ‘save’ telecoms innovation


CEOs from over 30 European telcos have accused the European Union of damaging the investment climate in telecoms by undermining incentives for network improvements.

In a letter from trade body ETNO, the operators and vendors claim the European Electronic Communications Code needs to be substantially reworked to focus on fostering innovation.

The Code was first proposed by the European Commission in 2016 with the aim of cutting red tape to boost investments and set new minimum access speeds.

However, this year the European Parliament has added amendments which focus on promoting competition and tackling oligopolies.

Signed by operators including Telefónica and Orange as well as vendors such as Ericsson and Nokia, the ETNO document calls on policymakers to save the “original spirit” of the plans by adding new incentives for investment.

It demands a “rejection” of measures that will add layers of regulation and complexity.

Specific measures requested to protect investment include predictable long-term spectrum licences.

It also asks that “innovation” be prioritised by eliminating discrepancies between regulation of telcos versus OTT and internet players, a perennial bugbear of the industry.

“We share the view that reform is necessary. Reforming means improving, and the latest developments seem to worsen the current situation instead,” the letter reads.

“However, a series of corrections can still save the original spirit of Europe’s Gigabit Society plans, which built on incentivising an investment-based competition.”

The new plea from ETNO echoes previous calls by operators to reform rules, including another letter in July which argued for a minimum spectrum licence length of 25 years.