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Vodafone welcomes EU Commission's revision of EU telecoms framework

14 September 2016
by Vodafone -- last modified 14 September 2016

Vodafone welcomes the review of the EU telecoms framework resulting in today’s proposal for a new European Electronic Communications Code and the Commission’s Communication on its vision for the European Gigabit Society.


The European Commission's proposal paves the way for one of the most important aspects of the 2015 Digital Single Market Strategy: connectivity as the backbone of the European Gigabit Society. We welcome today's proposal to foster the roll-out of ubiquitous, very high-capacity fibre and 5G broadband infrastructure that Europe needs for its global competitiveness.


In particular, Vodafone commends the Commission for its recognition that investment, competition and regulation form a virtuous circle in driving the future roll out of high-capacity networks in Europe. In the absence of sustainable competition, the Commission is right to resist the call for deregulation of access to incumbents' fixed networks, instead strengthening regulation of access to passive infrastructure such as ducts and poles.  As demonstrated by leading fibre nations like Spain and Portugal – both on track for 95% fibre coverage by 2020 -  effective regulation of passive infrastructure creates competitive pressure that leads to investment in gigabit technologies by both incumbents and their competitors. The winners are the country and its citizens.


As part of this, we would encourage the Commission to go one step further in strengthening the rules on structural separation of incumbents' retail and wholesale operations.  We would welcome also a revision upwards of the 100Mbps connectivity target for European households by 2025; if Europe is to embrace fully its Gigabit Society vision and all the economic benefits that will bring, we should set an ambition now for 1 gigabit (1000Mbps) speeds for everyone.


Regarding the critical topic of spectrum – the oxygen fuelling Europe's mobile networks and an essential resource for the evolution of 5G and the Internet of Things – we welcome the Commission's determination to resolve the spectrum gridlock caused by fragmented policies across the EU.  However, the proposal stops short of achieving the full harmonisation of spectrum management and indefinite spectrum licences. We encourage European institutions to be bold in in seeking to resolve this issue.


Finally, Vodafone is of the opinion that a stronger and more harmonised telecoms framework will only function if the set-up of institutions applying the new rules is enhanced accordingly.


Vodafone looks forward to reviewing in detail the new European Electronic Communications Code and to working with all of the European institutions to bring the Gigabit Society to fruition.


Vodafone is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 55 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. As of 30 June 2016, Vodafone had 465 million mobile customers and 13.7 million fixed broadband customers.

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