The European telecoms industry has expressed its concern about the current legislative debate on the future of mobile connectivity and spectrum management across the continent.

Coming as the European Parliament and EU member states discuss amendments to the draft European Electronic Communications Code, the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) and the GSM Association (GSMA) have said they fear that legislators have abandoned their ambitions for the roll-out of 5G in Europe.

ETNO and the GSMA said that 5G will “empower citizens and businesses with widespread ultra-fast connectivity and innovative new services”.

The technology and regulatory requirements were set out in the European Commission’s ‘5G Action Plan’ as well as in the telecoms industry’s ‘Manifesto for timely deployment of 5G in Europe’.

According to ETNO and the GSMA, both documents identify spectrum reform as the main pre-condition to a timely roll-out of new 5G networks and services.

The organisations said that Europe’s ambition needs to be mirrored in all upcoming legislative choices, encouraging lawmakers to recognise the importance of greater predictability and licensing clarity as tools to incentivise continuous investment in mobile networks, vibrant innovation and competitive mobile markets. They said that this investment is essential if Europe is to be a 5G leader.

ETNO and the GSMA said it is down to these reasons that several aspects of the Commission proposal should be maintained or strengthened, as they constitute an essential prerequisite for the achievement of the goals set out in the 5G Action Plan.

They have encouraged the legislators to ensure greater certainty and predictability over future rights of use as well as support easier spectrum trading and leasing proposals, among other recommendations.

Lise Fuhr, ETNO director general, said: “The EU institutional debate risks delaying a major source of societal and economic growth. 5G is the essential platform to provide new services to consumers and businesses.”

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