The GSMA Responds to the Draft RSPG Opinion RSPP
The GSMA welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the next phases of the RSPG and the European Commission’s work via a response to the public consultation on the future of the RSPP program.
The program must be focused on exploring urgent ways to resolve the growing gap in achieving digital transformation in Europe. The Radio Spectrum Policy Programme is a mean to support key Union policy areas such as the European Gigabit Society, the European Green Deal, New industrial strategy for Europe, Shaping Europe’s digital future and the Digital Decade ambitions. It is, therefore, paramount for the RSPG Opinion to address how all these initiatives will be enabled by different policies, including spectrum, in a competitive environment.
The European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) redefines the regulation of electronic communications in Europe. As a priority, Member states had to transpose the EECC into national law by 21 December 2020, two years after entry into force.
Citizens and business of the European Union request more data, higher speed, resilient networks, better connectivity, flexibility, home connection and, overall, an improved customer experience.
Terrestrial public mobile operators and Members States must partner together to make all this possible and ensure good quality ICT infrastructure by finding the best solutions based on an efficient spectrum policy: right amount of spectrum, at the right time, with the right conditions and at the right price.
The European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) redefines the regulation of electronic communications in Europe and its implementation should remain the highest priority and done to ensure full alignment with the true spirit of the document. It is important that spectrum policies are defined with due diligence for the recommendation on how to ensure the market is thriving.
The introduction of 5G offers new opportunities that will provide significant benefits to citizens, businesses and the public sector. To fully realise this socio-economic potential, we invite the RSPG to ensure that the following key principles are respected and addressed in the RSPG
- Clear and protected spectrum right of Use (ROU). Licensed spectrum remains essential to guarantee the necessary long-term heavy network investment needed for 5G and to deliver high quality of service. The risks surrounding network investment are significantly increased without the assurances of long-term, reliable and predictable spectrum access.
- Spectrum sharing frameworks can play a complementary role but must be carefully designed to avoid undermining the potential of 5G. Sharing can also play a role where clearing a band is not feasible by opening up access to new spectrum for 5G in areas where it is under-used by current incumbent users. In these cases, the protection of the incumbent uses should be guaranteed. Still, prospective bands for sharing must be harmonised and available in the right amounts, in the right areas and at the right times to support 5G. More complex sharing regimes (e.g. three-tier) with set-aside spectrum for General Authorised Access may limit, or eliminate, the potential for 5G services in the band.
- Provide clarity on impact of moving away from non-market based spectrum awards. A comprehensive cost-benefit analysis/regulatory impact assessment should be conducted to justify that a set-aside, sharing approach would deliver a better socioeconomic outcome for a country compared with a fully market-based award.
- Ensure justified spectrum demand are met. Focusing on understanding the spectrum users’ needs to identify the right solution must remain the objectives. We should not try to find a way to justify different spectrum award approaches which do not meet the
needs or can guarantee protection of the investment.
- Do not impose unnecessary regulation. Market based approaches are working and have been proven to be very successful. Policymakers should only intervene where there is proven market failure. Unnecessary market regulation can distort competition.
Voluntary spectrum sharing approaches are typically preferable to set-asides.