New Rules for a New Era: Connecting Europe to 2030

In an era where digital transformation dictates the pace of global competitiveness, the GSMA welcomed policymakers and industry stakeholders for the launch of the mobile industry’s manifesto for Europe, “New Rules for a New Era: Connecting Europe to 2030,” followed by EURACTIV panel “European Connectivity Landscape – What Reforms Are Needed for a New Era?” The event served as a lighthouse for the path ahead in strengthening the European telecoms industry and advancing the EU’s digital ambitions. 

The mobile industry manifesto for Europe 

GSMA Manifesto New Rules for a New Era - Download now

In the opening keynote, Laszlo Toth, Head of Europe and CIS of the GSMA, unveiled the mobile industry manifesto for Europe, dubbed “New Rules for a New Era.” The manifesto presents the mobile industry’s vision to partner with the European Union in the pursuit of five fundamental goals that are crucial for Europe’s digital future:  

  • Driving innovation with initiatives like GSMA Open Gateway, opening up mobile operator networks to developers and cloud service providers 
  • Enhancing competitiveness with resilient, high-capacity networks, enabling businesses to adopt next-generation technologies and drive growth across everything from manufacturing to small businesses and farming. 
  • Enabling the green transition by reducing its own emissions and enabling other sectors and businesses to decarbonise and reduce their energy consumption.   
  • Empower Europe’s citizens to access online services such as education and healthcare, and promote digital literacy and trust in digital services. 
  • Secure Europe’s open strategic autonomy by ensuring the connectivity sector remains resilient and secure in the face of external shocks. 

To achieve these ambitious goals, the manifesto outlines a need for a comprehensive reset across four policy domains:  

  • Building a global competitive scale: Europe should reevaluate the telecom market structure and the minimum viable scale for network operators to compete with global players and secure Europe’s strategic autonomy. 
  • Adopting a pro-investment approach to spectrum policy: Spectrum should be bought or rented for reasonable prices for much longer terms to give telcos and investors confidence to invest heavily. A long-term and harmonised approach to licensing will lead to more ambitious investment outcomes across the EU to benefit citizens and businesses.  
  • Rebalancing the digital ecosystem: Close the regulatory gap to ensure equivalent rights for consumers and equivalent rules for all service providers across the internet value chain.  
  • Updating sector-specific rules to reflect current realities: update policies to reflect the new technological, social, economic and competition realities and ensure a holistic and harmonised approach to address the barriers to creating a true Single Market for telecoms. 

Watch the manifesto launch keynote:

Decoding the digital infrastructure needs 

The event also featured a EURACTIV panel discussion “The European connectivity landscape – What reforms are needed for a new era?” with Kamila Kloc, Director for Digital Decade and Connectivity at DG CNECT; Aleksander Soltysik, Chairperson of the Radio Spectrum Policy Group; Peter Alexiadis, Research Fellow at CERRE, and Visiting Professor, King’s College London; and Ben Wreschner, Chief Economist at Vodafone and Chair of Policy Group Europe, GSMA. 

Panelists delved into the recent EU White Paper on mastering Europe’s digital infrastructure needs, highlighting the urgent requirement for innovative action, security, and resilience in digital infrastructures. A consensus emerged on the need for substantial investments and market-scale enhancements to meet the Digital Decade targets.

The discussions emphasised a shift towards deregulation and applying symmetric regulations in competitive markets. The consensus was clear: to support the sector’s transition and ensure user benefits, a holistic view of competition is needed—one that considers not just telecom regulation but also economic, security, and sustainability regulations. 

The Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG)’s ongoing analysis of the White Paper’s scope was a critical point of discussion. With recommendations expected by the end of June, there’s a palpable anticipation for guidelines to ensure predictability in spectrum access for the industry. This is vital for achieving a Digital Single Market. 

As the event concluded, the future of the EU’s digital infrastructure, especially with the advent of technologies like 6G, was a topic of excitement and caution. Finding the right balance between leveraging opportunities and mitigating risks will be essential in this dynamic landscape. 

The event highlighted the urgent need for innovative policy action and sparked a collective determination to work collaboratively towards a resilient, competitive, and sustainable digital future for Europe. The journey ahead is undoubtedly challenging, but with the insights and commitments shared, the path towards transforming Europe’s digital landscape has never been clearer.  

GSMA Manifesto New Rules for a New Era - Download now