Changes are on the way for telecoms across Europe with the news that the European Commission has launched two further public consultations as part of its Digital Single Market strategy.

the EC's Single Digital Market is an ambitious proposal

the EC’s Single Digital Market is an ambitious proposal

The two consultations, one on European broadband needs and the other a review of the existing telecoms framework, are open to users, organisations, public bodies and businesses across all sectors until December 7, 2015 here:

The telecoms questionnaire looks at network, service and governance, while the internet one examines online services and connectivity and the results of the consultations will form part of the Digital Single Market strategy – a collection of new laws due next year which aim to have a single access across Europe for all data and internet use.

The GSMA, which represents the interests of nearly 800 mobile operators worldwide, welcomed the consultation, but said that any new laws “should be focused in particular on removing unnecessary regulatory burdens”.

“The GSMA strongly encourages the modernisation of regulation in the sector to respond to the changed realities in the market. Europe needs policies that boost investment and encourage innovation, enabling service providers to continue to offer European citizens the quality of service they require,” the organisation stated.

Günther H-dot Oettinger, commissioner for the digital economy and society, said: “More than ever, Europe needs top-class connectivity. We therefore need rules that underpin sustainable, market-based, high-performance fixed and wireless broadband infrastructures for 2020 and beyond.”

At the same time the EC announced its surveys, ETNO, the association which represents Europe’s largest telecoms operators, also published its own consumer survey on the digital habits and expectations of those living within the Euro zone.

According to the survey, half of those surveyed would value being able to use any app provided by any app store on their smartphone and almost all (94%) said they had not used a public payphone recently – no great surprise.

Consultations on online platforms, tackling unjustified geo-blocking, the eGovernment action plan, ICT standards and a public-private partnership on cybersecurity, are all expected in the coming weeks.

* Interestingly as the same time as the announcements were being made, Danish telecoms Telenor and TeliaSonera revealed they’d abandoned their merger plans following pressure from the European Commission.

“The merger discussions have now reached a point where it is no longer possible to gain approval for the proposed transaction,” the companies said in a statement released on September 11.

The EU’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager was concerned that consumers would suffer from a lack of competition if the two teamed up. “EU merger control has to make sure that company tie-ups do not lead to reduced innovation, higher prices or reduced choice for consumers and do not restrict competition in the internal market,” she said.

In the UK, Three and O2’s merger – announced earlier this year – has also led to complicated pre-notification discussions with the Commission.

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