The European Commission has published a report on the telecoms market and regulation in the EU between 2012 and 2013, showing that investment in the field is starting to grow again, data traffic is growing quickly and VoIP calls are increasing.
The 2014 Report on Implementation of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications analyses each of the 28 EU Member States in terms of market and regulatory developments, including economic indicators, competitiveness, roaming, regulations, broadband plans, authorisation, spectrum management, access and interconnection, consumer issues and net neutrality.
The report shows that huge discrepancies still exist among EU countries.
Only Denmark, Germany, Latvia and Malta for example have met the 2012 target for the authorisation of the specific spectrum bands. While an additional 21 Member States did eventually meet the target in 2013, the delay in assignment of the 800 MHz band has significantly slowed the roll-out of 4G mobile across the EU.
In addition, the time needed to obtain permits to roll-out new networks ranges from a few days to years depending on where in the EU you are, and access to a passive telecommunication infrastructure is fragmented, complex and cumbersome in some Member States. Wholesale charges for number portability (the cost charged to a competitor for transferring a subscriber’s number) are also substantially different across Europe.
On the other hand, the majority of EU countries have established broadband plans (with the exception of Greece, Romania and Cyprus), and investment in the European telecommunications sector is beginning to grow – even though industry revenues again declined in 2013.
The report also indicates that the use of traditional telephony services is decreasing as internet (VoIP) services become increasingly popular, while data traffic is growing quickly across Europe.