Business World

Saturday 21 April 2018

Kroes blasts EU telecoms market

Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

EUROPEAN Commission vice president Neelie Kroes condemned the state of the European telecoms market yesterday in Dublin.

"Quality is poor; there are few innovative services beyond basic phone calls; and prices are unfairly high. If I phone the town next door, within our single market, that shouldn't count as a costly "international" call," she said.

She said telecoms operators are "stuck in tiny national markets, with borders and barriers at every turn. Expanding means dealing with a tiresome patchwork of multiple systems: for licences, spectrum, numbering and more."

At a Digital Assembly as part of Ireland's EU presidency, Ms Kroes said it is no wonder that the US or China are racing ahead, because telecoms operators in those countries serve hundreds of millions under a single set of rules. "No wonder all the major internet players come from outside Europe, from social networks to device makers," she said.

She added that if an operator can do business in one part of the EU, it should be able to do business everywhere. But she denied this would mean setting up a new EU super-regulator and that governments would still be entitled to sell or auction telecom rights and keep the resulting funds.

Irish Independent

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