European MNOs and GSMA Unveil a Manifesto for Europe’s Digital Future

The Brussels-based GSMA and leading European mobile network operators on Wednesday announced the release of ‘Connecting Europe to 2030: A Mobile Industry Manifesto for Europe.’ The manifesto outlines a strategic vision for Europe’s mobile connectivity. It calls for critical policy reforms to ensure that Europe’s digital economy, with strong, sustained network innovation, can reestablish a leadership position in the global tech race by 2030.

According to the GSMA and the MNOs, Europe is at a pivotal moment. The continent is facing increased global competition, rising trade barriers, and a race for technological supremacy. The manifesto highlights the critical role of the mobile industry in advancing the EU’s digital agenda, as Europe strives for universal 5G coverage by 2030. 

The authors acknowledge, however, that achieving this vision requires addressing systemic challenges including market fragmentation, regulatory hurdles, and investment barriers. Such conditions have stifled the European telecom sector’s growth and competitiveness, according to the authors.

The manifesto outlines several strategic areas for action: emphasizing the importance of next-generation connectivity, digital innovation, and the transition to a greener operating environment. 

The document highlights initiatives that have already achieved success across Europe from smart factories and digital toolkits to innovative projects in smart farming and city management. All of these incorporate some aspect of mobile connectivity and demonstrate the mobile sector’s potential to drive economic growth, sustainability, and societal benefits.

The manifesto calls on EU policymakers to prioritize a new digital infrastructure framework that fosters investment, innovation, and a harmonized digital market. Recommendations include addressing the telecom market’s fragmentation, implementing more pro-investment spectrum policy, closing regulatory gaps between different digital service providers, and updating historically based rules to reflect current realities.

“As Europe confronts significant geopolitical, economic, and societal shifts, and a rapidly developing global digital economy, urgent action to secure the continent’s digital future has never been more imperative,” comments Laszlo Toth, GSMA Head of Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Toth says that the manifesto is a commitment to “partnership and progress” which the authors believe will help Europe to “reclaim its position as a global leader in digital technology and innovation.” He emphasizes the ultimate goal is for European MNOs to build the next-generation infrastructure needed by citizens and businesses to succeed and thrive beyond 2030.

By John Celentano, Inside Towers Business Editor

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