[img_assist|nid=26104|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=left|width=150|height=118]The EU’s commissioner for the digital agenda has outlined her vision for a single European mobile market, which she says is vital if the region is to compete with the US and Asia.
Neelie Kroes said in a public speech that operators, consumers and businesses are being held back by costly and complicated communication services, saying this is a “serious barrier to growth.” She highlighted that average European data speeds on mobile are half those of the US. “Combined, the US, Japan and South Korea have 88 per cent of the world’s 4G connections; in Europe, we have six per cent,” she said.
But the EU would not be doing away with national regulators, creating new institutions or grabbing powers from member states, she emphasises, as it might take too long and prove fruitless. “For me, the most important thing is to act quickly. The world is changing fast, technology is moving fast, and we need to act fast to save our economy… I want to look at all the barriers our market currently faces. And bring them down. Pragmatically, achievably, and fast. Because our economy cannot afford to wait.”
As well as banning data roaming charges for EU citizens, creating a truly single market for mobile phone users across the region, Kroes suggests and a “passport” for operators working between countries. “If citizens and companies get higher-quality services and a fairer deal, they will use those services more,” Kroes said. “Look at the US mobile market: revenues per subscription are nearly double the EU – even though the call cost per minute is over three times lower.”
“The fact is, the whole economy craves connectivity: every sector, every citizen. That’s a great opportunity; of growth for the telecoms sector, of growth for everyone. Let’s make sure we capture it.”
The EU is currently consulting on building a connected, communicating single market.