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Brussels, 20 March 2001

Commission recalls the great economic and societal potential of future wireless services

The European Commission today adopted a Communication entitled "The Introduction of Third Generation Mobile Communications in the European Union: State of Play and the Way Forward". In this Communication, the European Commission takes stock of the situation in Europe at a moment when most Member States have or are about to issue licences for third generation (3G) mobile services and networks. The Commission recalls the significant contribution 3G can give to the building of the information society in the EU. By capitalising on the experience and success of the present GSM generation of mobile services in the transition towards creative, value-added 3G services, the EU will promote its lead in technology, competitiveness and innovative products in this important sector.

The Communication(1) emphasises the need to use existing Community policies to create a favourable environment for future wireless digital services. First, the future regulatory framework for electronic communications and for radio spectrum policy has to be adopted and implemented rapidly. Secondly, the Commission will continue to work via existing Community policies such as research and the eEurope Action Plan towards an environment conducive for success of wireless digital applications and content. Thirdly, the Commission will launch a dialogue with Member States, telecom operators and equipment manufacturers to explore a number of issues in view of facilitating the roll out of 3G networks. Mr. Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner responsible for Enterprise and Information Society said, "GSM was a European success and now we are building a bridge to 3G and beyond. As with any transition, there is some uncertainty, but the Commission recalls the great opportunities of this new generation of mobile digital services. We have to remember that 3G is built on very strong foundations: in the foreseeable future it is the only viable, widely-supported common platform for all wireless applications. 3G will offer users new quality of personalised and localised, user friendly services with global roaming capabilities. New content and new services are the key to the success of the new generation of mobile digital services."

The Commission underlines the importance of the future regulatory environment for electronic communications. The fragmentation of licence conditions which has characterised the 3G licence attributions as a result of each Member State's responsibility under the present regulatory regime to determine the mechanism for issuing licences and to define licence conditions has demonstrated the need for more co-ordination at European level. The proposals of the Commission for a review of the Community framework for electronic communications from July 2000 (See IP/00/749) and for a Decision for a Radio Spectrum Policy would provide mechanisms to co-ordinate the granting of radio spectrum rights of use (See IP/00751). They also offer a policy platform to discuss generic approaches and best practices related to radio spectrum where a co-ordinated approach is in the Community interest. The Commission recalls the Lisbon European Council's request to adopt this legislation by the end of 2001.

(1) Available from 21 March 2001 at HYPERLINK ""

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