New report on state of EU Telecommunications markets

28.7.2014

Today the European Commission published a report on the telecommunications market and regulation in the EU. The report covers 2012 – 2013 years.

The main findings of the report:

  • Industry revenues again declined in 2013 but investment is beginning to grow;
  • Use of traditional telephony services is decreasing as internet (VoIP) services become increasingly popular;
  • Data traffic is growing quickly;
  • Mobile voice call and data prices are higher in the EU than in the US, while the usage of mobile is higher in the US, resulting in a higher ‘average revenue per user’ in the US.
  • Only Denmark, Germany, Latvia and Malta met the 2012 target for the authorisation of the specific spectrum bands. 21 Member States did eventually meet the target in 2013, but the delay in assignment of the 800 MHz band has significantly slowed the roll-out of 4G mobile across the EU.
  • The time needed to obtain permits to roll-out new networks ranges from a few days to years depending on where in the EU you are building the network. Most authorities still do not allow for electronic submission of requests.

Vice-President of the European Commission @NeelieKroesEU said: "We are clearly still a long way from a real single market. We need to cut red tape and we need more consistent regulatory action at both national and EU levels to build up that single market. A quick implementation of the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive will contribute to this objective but there is more to do."

Infrastructure

The report also found that access to a passive telecommunication infrastructure is fragmented, complex and cumbersome in some Member States, including Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Luxemburg, Malta, and Poland.

Consumer issues

Substantial differences exist between the Member States regarding wholesale charges for number portability, i.e. the cost charged to a competitor for transferring a subscriber's number.

Broadband

The majority of European countries have established broadband plans (with the exception of Greece, Romania and Cyprus, which are in the process of finalising their broadband plans); funding for the national broadband projects vary considerably (e.g. via national public funds in the form of State Aid or from the EU Structural Funds).

Background

The report covers a variety of regulatory issues: market regulation, broadband plans and financing, national regulatory authorities, authorisation, spectrum management, rights of way and access to passive infrastructure, access and interconnection, consumer issues, universal service and net neutrality. These issues are described in the context of market developments, competitiveness and digital agenda targets. The report covers the period from January 2012 till December 2013.

The reports for all EU countries are available on this page.

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