Brussels, 8th January 2004
'3rd Wave Mobile for Europe': CEOs unite to set out a shared vision for mobile communications
Fourteen CEOs from key players within the mobile communications sector today set out a common vision for the future. The group set out more than twenty recommendations on steps needed to support and sustain the rollout of mobile networks and services across Europe. This involves action on research, standards, content, security, spectrum, international co-operation and regulation. The Report was the first fruit of the Mobile Communications and Technology Platform established last October, under the European Initiative for Growth, by Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society. The platform brings together leading industrial players from among mobile operators, equipment and component manufacturers and content providers.
Commissioner Liikanen said: "I very much welcome this Report. The mobile sector is critical to Europe's competitiveness and future prosperity. As we move towards a converged environment it is essential that we harness the capabilities of all technologies to deliver growth. Much work is already under way. However, more needs to be done. This Platform has worked well. Its Report comes at a time when there are clear signs that the sector has turned the corner with reducing debt burdens, improved credit ratings and 3G launches now underway. I believe the CEOs' recommendations can provide a sound basis for growth. They provide a roadmap for continued EU leadership in mobile communications'.
Entitled '3rd Wave Mobile for Europe', the Report presents a vision of continued EU leadership in mobile communications. This will bring increased opportunities for the mobile industry and benefits for the economy at large in terms of productivity improvements, stronger growth, investment and new jobs. The CEOs foresee a customer-focused environment with rich content and a variety of applications. Easy to use smart devices with broadband capability will be key as well as multiple delivery channels.
For mobile communications to continue their success, improvements are needed in the way standards are set and interoperability is achieved. Content development and delivery over different platforms must be supported. Other important issues include spectrum, the need for stronger international co-operation and ensuring that the new regulatory framework for electronic communications supports the development of mobile communications.
Security will be paramount. This will help to maintain customer confidence and offer a high level of protection for consumers. Future mobile networks and services will build confidence by offering greater security than the internet today, while cross platform convergence will offer the unique capability of 'anytime, any place' access to high-speed data services on the move through a range of broadband-enabled devices.
The CEOs reiterated their belief in European 3G. They also stressed the importance of boosting R&D in mobile communications. They committed themselves to preparing a strategic research agenda for a future Wireless World within the Community's 7th Research Framework Programme.
The Report from the Group sets out detailed recommended actions for industry, the Commission and Member States covering seven key areas including research, standards, content, security, spectrum, international co-operation and regulation.
The Mobile Communications & Technology Platform was set up in October 2003 following an invitation from Commissioner Erkki Liikanen. It brings together 14 CEOs from the mobile communications sector, including mobile operators, equipment manufacturers and content providers. The objective of the platform is to agree a prioritised set of industry recommendations on action items that are needed to support and sustain the rollout of mobile networks across Europe. The Platform is a concrete implementation of the concept of technology platforms envisaged in the European Growth Initiative (October 2003).
The number of mobile subscribers in Europe has increased at a higher rate in 2003 than in 2002 (6%) and 81% of EU citizens now have a mobile telephone. The forecast for global handset sales is approx. 430 million in 2003.
3G services were introduced in the UK and Italy in March 2003 and in Austria in April 2003. There are today over 500 000 subscribers of 3G services in Europe, with 3G services in five (including Sweden and Denmark) of the 15 Member States. Over 40 3G networks will be launched in Europe over the next 12 months, according to GSM Europe.
Members of the Platform