Europe is among the global regions with the highest smartphone penetration and mobile connectivity has become essential for millions of Europeans, be it for business, information or entertainment purposes. This positions the telecommunications industry to become one of the primary drivers of the European economic recovery, placing it as a key contributor to future growth, according to Tom Phillips, chief regulatory officer at GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide.
However, he suggests, if that potential is to be realised in full, European Union (EU) institutions need to cooperate closely with mobile industry players to address challenges that could obstruct growth, job creation and innovation.
In an article for EurActiv, Phillips points to several areas that EU institutions and the industry need to tackle with priority. Central among them is modernising European telecommunications regulation, which is the key to the future success of the sector, he claims. He believes the new European Commission and Parliament should put regulatory harmonisation on top of its agenda and also work towards scrapping outdated and superfluous rules.
Phillips goes on to state that having a modern infrastructure is also essential for ensuring growth. The EU needs to reconsider its merger control methods because this is critical for spurring investment, which will in turn accelerate 4G deployments. In addition, such a reassessment is necessary to drive competitiveness, Phillips says.
The article also suggests that another extremely important area of concern is data protection. It says that every effort must be made to introduce a consistent framework to ensure equal privacy protection for all European citizens. If the telecommunications industry is to grow and contribute in full to the European economy, consumers have to trust mobile services and unified data protection regulation is the building block of that trust, Phillips argues.