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GSMA and EU: good intents for a prosperous future – Frost & Sullivan's comment

By Saverio Romeo
Industry Analyst
Information & Communication Technologies
Frost & Sullivan

London, 4 November 2009

Last September, the Swedish Presidency of the European Union launched the debate on the future of the ICT sector in Europe with the position paper “A Green Knowledge Society”. The document aims to set the basis of the future EU ICT policy agenda that drives “a radical transformation towards a European knowledge-based society in order to further develop and reap the benefits of ICTs, as the Swedish Minister for Communications, Åsa Torstensson, claims in the introduction to the paper. The Swedish Minister also clearly sets the overall objective of an EU ICT agenda saying that “we need to keep working on how to make Europe the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy, and in so doing, transform it to an eco-efficient one”.

On the 3rd of November, GSMA has published the “European Mobile Manifesto”. The Manifesto is the answer to the “A Green Knowledge Society” paper. It shows how the European mobile industry’s objectives coincides with the EU’s ones and how the mobile industry can “help achieve key European Union objectives”. GSMA believes that the mobile industry will substantially contribute to the rapid growth of broadband penetration in Europe. It will engage European citizens in a variety of commercial and public services applications. It will contribute to a greener Europe and actively work on data security and privacy issues.

It is surprising to see how the largest mobile industry body was in line with the biggest regulator and technology policy body in Europe. It looks like we are in front of a sort of peace treaty! The GSMA leaves space for some criticism, particularly on pricing regulation, when they argue that “the value the mobile industry has created could have been further enhanced by a lighter-touch approach to regulation.”, but, in the context of the entire Manifesto, it looks as a small reminder and not as the core theme of it. The crucial and important message of this story is that GSMA, and the industry it represents, and also the European Union recognize the absolute need of a collaborative elaboration of a new strategy for mobile communications in Europe that is valuable and sustainable for the industry and the European citizens.

This collaborative attitude is absolutely necessary. As the Manifesto rightly claims the “mobile is an area of European global leadership”, but some difficulties are evident. The European mobile industry struggles to be at the edge of innovation in critical market segments such as mobile web 2.0 and to remain competitive in an environment where Asian players are becoming increasingly aggressive. Mobile network operators’ revenues still largely rely on voice and text, but these are unable to drive strong growth. Fostering the diffusion of a new mobile experience based on the Internet, content, and value added services is obligatory.

For all these reasons, it will be disastrous if the good intents on papers will not be translated into actions. The European Commissioner for Information Society and Media, Viviane Reading, has recently given a positive sign to the mobile industry when she argued that the frequencies freed by technological developments should be allocated to new services such as mobile Internet and high-definition mobile services. Hopefully, it is probably the beginning of a new era of collaboration between industry and policy makers.

Saverio Romeo is an Industry Analyst for Frost & Sullivan Information & Communication Technologies group. He focuses on monitoring and analyzing emerging trends, technologies and market behavior in the mobile and wireless communications in Western and Eastern Europe. He also studies the impact of EU regulation and government technology policies on the mobile industry, and applications of mobile technologies in vertical markets.

If you would like to receive more information on European telecommunications industry, please contact Joanna Lewandowska, Corporate Communications, at

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best in class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best practice models to drive the generation, evaluation, and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 35 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit

Joanna Lewandowska
Corporate Communications – Europe
P: +48 22 390 41 46

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