Sunday, June 17, 2012

EU Digital Agenda: Telecoms Services Improving

The European Commission issued a 46 page report summarizing regulatory changes and key market trends in the EU telecom sector over the past year. In general, the report finds that the telecom market is improving from the consumer perspective with 95% of Europeans now having access to a fixed broadband connection, while the use of mobile internet has gone up by 62%. On the mobile side, the average revenue per user (ARPU) dropped in many EU countries with the average EU level decreasing from €244 in 2009 to €221 in 2010 thanks in part to lower termination rates.

During 2011, a significant amount of radio spectrum was freed up, including: Belgium, Lithuania, Slovenia, Greece, Malta, Spain and Portugal opened up the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands ("GSM bands") to new mobile services, while the 800 MHz band was assigned to mobile broadband in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Sweden.

However, the report observes that the current EU regulatory framework has been applied unevenly. To date, four countries (Belgium, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia) have not yet transposed the EU telecom rules which were agreed in 2009 into their national legislation. These rule cover mobile number portability, consumer protection against phone theft and opening the market to competition.