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Mobile broadband services: Commission tables blueprint for anytime, anywhere access, to boost growth in business and public services

European Commission - IP/04/828   30/06/2004

Other available languages: FR DE

IP/04/828

Brussels, 30 June 2004

Mobile broadband services: Commission tables blueprint for anytime, anywhere access, to boost growth in business and public services

Accessing everything you need at head office from a computer in the field is fast becoming vital to the efficiency of both private enterprise and public services. A policy blueprint to ensure that data can be accessed anytime, anywhere across the EU, and that the EU retains its lead in this area, is set out in “Mobile broadband services”, a Commission Communication issued today. The challenges ahead include ensuring that services can be supplied seamlessly to a variety of devices, making the technologies and networks that carry them interoperable, and providing adequate intellectual property protection for services with high value-added content. These challenges call for targeted R&D, both on basic research and to accelerate technical innovation.

“Mobile broadband services are an economic locomotive in their own right, but are also vital to sustain competitiveness throughout the economy. Building on Europe’s strength in the mobile communications sector, these new services will increase productivity by boosting labour efficiency in public services and business. Anywhere, any time availability will be essential to a European information economy where the mobility of people, goods and services is increasing. All stakeholders, including Member States, need to address these issues together, to ensure that Europe does not miss out on the benefits that mobile broadband services can bring”, said Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner Erkki Liikanen.

The rapid growth in mobile communications has had an enormous economic and social impact, in Europe and globally. Penetration levels in Europe are over 80% and rising. However, we are now witnessing a paradigm shift as new mobile data services begin to come on stream. The latest generation of mobile and wireless technologies will combine the benefits of high-speed broadband connections and high-volume data-carrying capacity with mobility. For example, mobile users will be able to shop and pay on-line and receive a whole range of audio-visual services such as music and video. The biggest benefits are likely to come from productivity gains. The ability to link the mobile workforce with company headquarters and exchange data at high speed will change working processes and improve organisational efficiency.

Key issues

R&D - the share of GDP that Europe spends on R&D lags well behind that of its main trading partners. An R&D strategic agenda that supports innovation, including basic research, is needed:

  • Interoperability - industry is asked to take urgent steps to improve the interoperability of mobile broadband services, so as to facilitate communication and the supply of services on different networks;
  • Value-added content – the regulatory framework for intellectual property rights should be implemented so as to foster the creation of high value-added content;
  • E-payments – prudential rules governing the use of “e-money”, where relevant to mobile payments, need to be applied in a proportionate and risk-sensitive manner;
  • Base stations and masts – action is required to address regulatory barriers to their establishment in some Member States;
  • Spectrum policy - a co-ordinated European approach towards availability and flexible usage is needed.

The Commission will continue to work with all stakeholders, including Member States, to progress the key policy issues identified in this Communication.

The communication can be found at:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/topics/ecomm/index_en.htm


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