GSMA urges Europe to tap telecom potential despite 135% mobile penetration

Telecom Lead Europe: GSMA has urged mobile industry to wake up to use opportunities though Europe has the highest mobile penetration rate in the world, with total connections of 135 percent in Europe in 2012 (versus 87 percent in Asia and 108 percent in Northern America).

Europe’s connections are predicted to rise to 152 percent by 2017.

Anne Bouverot, director General, GSMA

Meanwhile, the penetration of unique mobile subscribers is currently at 76 percent in the region and set to increase to 80 percent by 2017.

GSMA said European industry and governments need to work together to harness the potential of mobile communications to drive growth, increase employment, stimulate innovation and improve sustainability.

“Europe has been an innovator and leader from the inception of mobile communications, although this leadership position has weakened in recent years. The third wave of mobile and the delivery of connected services present a new and substantial opportunity for future growth. It is my wish that the mobile industry and European institutions establish a positive policy framework that will continue to position Europe at the forefront of this exciting industry,” said Anne Bouverot, director General, GSMA.

“Europe is experiencing successive waves of mobile connectivity. The first wave – Europe’s GSM success – connected people on the move. The second wave brought mobile broadband at ever-increasing speeds to hundreds of millions of Europe’s citizens and businesses. We are now seeing the third wave with mobile networks delivering connectivity to devices ranging from health monitors and smart meters to connected cars, transforming the face of industry and the lives of individuals,” Bouverot added.

Across Europe, it is forecast there will be 2.1 billion mobile connections by the end of this decade, an increase of more than 60 per cent from 1.3 billion today3. Advanced mobile broadband networks are delivering faster data rates, low latency and expanding coverage, with currently 326 million mobile broadband connections in Europe alone4.

Mobile connected devices in Europe are predicted to soar to almost 1 billion by 2020, with total connected devices estimated to reach almost 6 billion. Total revenues forecast for key industries in Europe through mobile connectivity by 2020 per year include almost 23 billion Euros for healthcare; 46 billion Euros for Smart Cities and utilities; and 48 billion Euros for the automotive and transport sector.


Meeting Key EU Challenges:

1.    Driving growth through network investment, job creation and contributions to public funding,  including through taxes and licence fees, and also by transforming other industries;

2.    Generating further employment opportunities beyond the jobs created for an estimated 1.7 million European citizens already;

3.    Providing a platform and spur for innovation across all sectors and the whole economy; and

4.    Supporting sustainability by limiting its own carbon emissions and helping reduce carbon footprints across other industries5

GSMA suggestions: 

·         Accelerate the harmonised deployment of available spectrum across all member states, and identify new spectrum for next generation mobile networks

·         Help limit network deployment costs by allowing infrastructure sharing on a commercial basis, promoting national best-practice on base station licensing and authorisation, and ensuring EMF-related policies are in line with World Health Organisation recommendations

·         ‘Fill in’ broadband coverage gaps by complementing private sector-led investments with public funding and financial support

·         Facilitate industry collaboration on the delivery of interoperable, pan-European services that can help realise new market scale opportunities for the whole economy

·         Ensure operators can continue to manage data traffic so they can deliver innovative services that work and provide the quality of service that consumers and businesses expect

·         Update pan-European content licensing rules to enable new business models for rights holders and commercial users, and attractive content offers for consumers

·         Update EU data privacy rules so they are clear and consistent for consumers across the mobile ecosystem value chain, as well as flexible enough to address potential future risks, whilst encouraging innovation

·         Continue to support mobile industry led self-regulatory initiatives on child protection in areas such as parental controls, education and awareness, and on-line child abuse images

·         Promote and prioritize initiatives to develop eSkills and increase digital literacy

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