By Richard Brown
European Commissioners and senior executives from Europe’s mobile operators have reasserted their faith in 3G as essential to the growth of the continent’s broadband-based economy.
The statement comes in the wake of intense investor pressure from shareholders of major operators reeling from the financial burden of buying their 3G licences. Shareholders are demanding a return on the huge sums paid to secure the right to run 3G services. The high-level meeting in Brussels between the European Commission and GSM Europe, the regional interest group of the GSM Association (GSMA), tackled infrastructure sharing, spectrum management, licenceconditions, network rollout, M-Commerce, new services and applications, and ways in which the Commission can help support the industry to launch future 3G networks and services.In addition, the meeting addressed the European Union’s eEuropeAction Plan, the campaign to hasten electronic interaction between government and businesses across the continent. Commissioner Erkki Liikanen, responsible for Enterprise and InformationSociety stated: “I continue to believe that 3G is an essential buildingblock of the broadband wireless information society and that its success is essential to achieve the Commission policy objectives of an information society for all.”According to Liikanen, the recent adoption of a looser regulatory regime will help 3G develop. “The mobile industry is rightly seen as a European success story. The challenge for us all - the Commission, regulators, governments and the wireless industry - is to ensure its continued development and leadership.”Liikanen adds that the new communications regulatory package has been designed to reduce red tape, offers technology-neutrality and should permit a more level playing field for telecoms in Europe. GSM Association CEO, Rob Conway, comments: “Against a backdrop of investor pressure and increasing regulatory constraints, the operator community has continued to rise to commercial and operational challenges, developing networks and innovative services to benefit and support Europe’s economic and social communities.”GSM Europe believes that there are several legislative areascritical to the continued growth of Europe’s mobile services. Key recommendations to the European Commission include:·That the Commission and regulators recognise the adverse risk ofinappropriate regulation and its adverse impact on new services, such as 3G;·That the Commission urgently consult with Member States and industry on ways to support the development of 3G services;·That the Commission should ensure that mobile operators can offer innovative m-commerce services for their subscribers without being hindered by financial regulation.GSM Europe represents 123 operators in 50 countries and areasin Europe that serve around 346 million subscribers.