GSMA Comments on European Electronic Communications Code Agreement

The European Commission, Parliament and Council have reached a political agreement on the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC). In the GSMA’s view, this agreement is a political compromise that fails to confront long term challenges for the European telecommunication sector and could hinder deployment of 5G networks in Europe, weakening the region’s competitiveness and harming European citizens.

In particular, these setbacks include:

  • Investment uncertainty: the GSMA is disappointed that the agreement does not deliver sufficiently on the ambition to provide a strong, pro-investment regulatory reform. The GSMA believes that only such an assurance would allow the industry to make the necessary investments that would ultimately benefit consumers.
  • Lack of harmonisation: while some constructive provisions have been introduced, the main issues remain untouched. These include ensuring meaningful convergence of spectrum awards across the Member States, and reassuring investors that licenses will have a longer duration than today.
  • Lack of a level playing field: despite some progress, the agreement fails to address the fact that the European telecoms sector is still over-regulated, in some key areas, resulting in it not benefitting from a level-playing field. The agreement does align some consumer rights attached to the use of all interpersonal services providers, but many differences still remain. A policy of ‘same service, same rules’ would lead to more competition, innovation and consumer benefit.
  • Additional retail price regulation: the adopted measures on intra-EU calls are unjustified, as consumers and businesses enjoy a variety of choices for making calls to other EU countries. Moreover, the agreement infringes EU law, notably the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality enshrined in the Treaty on the European Union.

Afke Schaart, VP and Head of Europe at the GSMA said: “As shown in the past, Europe has the ability to overcome difficult decisions and ensure a more solid and scalable EU market. We are disappointed that this crucial opportunity – for citizens as well as for the 5G industry – was not fully grasped, and strongly believe in the need of a better deal for Europe’s global digital competitiveness.”

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