Open letter from the GSMA Director General Mats Granryd

Dear Ministers,

The GSMA would like to urge you to reject the Delegated Act on C-ITS, which was adopted by the Commission on 13 March and is now under scrutiny by the Council and European Parliament for the period of 2 months, until 13 May.

Our industry association, which represents mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators and nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, is of the opinion that this piece of legislation ignores technological innovation and choice. In the Delegated Act, the Commission favours the outdated wi-fi (802.11p) technology for connected vehicles.

Since last year, another technology is now available for both short and long range communication between vehicles, known as Cellular V2X (C-V2X). This technology provides more security, range and quality of service than 802.11p. C-V2X is quickly becoming the worldwide standard for communication between vehicles and with roadside infrastructure. In fact, North America and China are already moving forward with C-V2X, which will allow them to move to connected driving more quickly, cheaply and safely than Europe.

However, the Commission (notably DG MOVE) is sticking to 802.11p as it has invested hundreds of millions of euros in the technology over the past decade. It now aims to push the standard forward into Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems, even if it is not future-proof, is a standalone technology and cannot be integrated into 4G and 5G networks. More importantly, the Commission simply ignores the division amongst Member States as well as automotive manufacturers on which technology to choose.

The GSMA fully supports the purported aim of this legislation to make roads in Europe safer and smarter to bring down the number of road fatalities. However, the Commission’s plan to double down on an ageing technology for C-ITS does a disservice to European drivers and industry. Although the Delegated Act on C-ITS contains a review clause to allow for new technology to be recognised, its decision to start with already outdated technology as the standard and then demanding interoperability will lock out CV2X from Europe for the foreseeable future, while wasting billions of euros in taxpayers’ money on roadside infrastructure investments.

The Delegated Act will also have major implications for the rollout of 5G in Europe, as C-V2X is a key building block for future 5G networks. Connected cars are one of the most important 5G use cases and investments on 5G infrastructure along Europe’s highways will be undercut by a decision to favour 802.11p.

The GSMA therefore urges the European Parliament as well as EU Member States to reject the Delegated Act on C-ITS, and instead maintain flexibility to encourage the deployment of more advanced technologies. If the Commission stays on this legislative road, it will never make Europe’s roads safer.

If you have any questions or require more (background) information on our position and on C-V2X
technology, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours sincerely,
Mats Granryd
Director General, GSMA

Continue reading: GSMA Open Letter to Ministers – 29 March 2019 (PDF download)