Looking to the Future of Mobile – Policies for a Digital Europe

We are in a time of great change in the telecommunications sector.

The rapid spread of mobile technology together with the convergence of digital technologies and services has created huge growth and opportunity. Advanced applications and new ways of communicating are creating a truly connected society, radically impacting the way in which we use technology and the manner in which it is accessed and delivered.

To encourage long-term growth and development, create an environment that is conducive to investment, and ensure the expansion of next-generation digital networks and services, new thinking in how the sector is regulated is required.

The time is right to assess what has worked well to date, what needs to change, and where regulation can extend access, protect the consumer, and promote long-term development of our new digital world.


The GSMA welcomes the launch of the telecommunications framework review.

The proposed European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) is an opportunity to establish a forward-thinking set of rules that protect consumers and enhance the status of Europe as a location for investment and innovation.

A new regulatory framework should incorporate three main principles:

  • Regulation should be based on function rather than structure - look at what is being provided rather than who is providing it
  • Regulation should not be set in stone - it should be dynamic and flexible
  • New thinking is required – regulators should regulate only when the benefits exceed the costs

Key Policy Actions

It’s time to move towards a modern, simpler and more investment-friendly framework. The GSMA calls for reform in spectrum management, services, and mobile network access to allow for greater innovation and investment, bringing long-term benefits to consumers.


  • Greater certainty over future rights of use
  • Greater consistency in awards approaches
  • Right balance between exclusive and shared licensing regimes
  • Predictable licensing conditions
  • Limited spectrum fees
  • Freedom to compete


  • Technology neutral legislation
  • Full harmonisation of end-user rights
  • No regulation of services consisting of the conveyance of signals
  • Balanced rules on switching/portability
  • Definition of a bundle
  • Numbers only granted to undertakings who are providers of electronic networks or services
  • Public funding of Universal Service Obligations

Mobile Network Access

  • Forward–looking policies to ensure investment and innovation
  • Performance based regulation
  • Better evaluation of regulation


The GSMA welcomes the ePrivacy Regulation's commitment to ensuring the confidentiality of communications, which we believe is essential for consumer trust in the digital ecosystem.

However, the GSMA believes that more should be done to enable providers of electronic communications services to use metadata responsibly for the benefit of consumers and society, to the same extent that other technology or service providers can under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which ensures that individuals receive a high level of protection.

Key Policy Actions

With the proposed ePrivacy Regulation (ePR) progressing through the European Union legislative process, the GSMA is calling for the EU to consider the following critical areas to ensure the end result strengthens consumer trust and encourages digital innovation.

Allow greater flexibility to use data responsibly

  • Allow more flexible grounds for processing data which would be subject to other safeguards e.g. impact assessments, privacy-by-design, oversight and fines
  • This flexibility would enable activities beneficial to citizens, such as network planning, product development and providing emergency services

Permit further compatible processing using safeguards

  • Further processing should be allowed if the processing meets the GDPR Art. 6(4) compatibility test, including the use of safeguards to mitigate risk
  • In this context, pseudonymisation and other safeguards enable companies to develop innovative services while protecting consumers’ privacy

Avoid over-reliance on consent

  • Expand the legal grounds for data processing and drop the duty to remind end users about consent every six months
  • The current ePR proposal heavily relies on user consent which would lead to consent fatigue, weakening the very protection consent is intended to deliver

Same data, same rules

  • The same type of data (e.g. location data) carries the same potential data privacy risks, and should receive consistent treatment
  • Consumers should not be expected to have to distinguish between their rights under the GDPR and those under the ePR