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Digital Agenda: Commission pushes for effective deployment of pan-European mobile satellite services

Commission Européenne - IP/11/1167   10/10/2011

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European Commission - Press release

Digital Agenda: Commission pushes for effective deployment of pan-European mobile satellite services

Brussels, 10th October 2011 – The European Commission today adopted a decision which would allow it to coordinate the efforts of EU Member States to accelerate the commercial deployment of pan-European Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) and, if need be, to adopt appropriate enforcement measures. Mobile satellite services use radio spectrum to provide access to communication services, such as Internet access, mobile multimedia/radio and emergency services for all Europeans, however remote the area in which they live. The Commission has taken this decision following the expiry of a two-year period which two operators, Inmarsat Ventures Limited and Solaris Mobile Limited, were given to deploy mobile satellite services systems across Europe (see IP/09/770).

Inmarsat Ventures Limited and Solaris Mobile Limited were selected by the Commission on 13th May 2009 to provide mobile satellite services over the 2 GHz spectrum range throughout the EU. While monitoring of compliance with authorisations and enforcement are undertaken at national level, the cross-border nature of MSS systems called for coordination at EU level.

Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda said: "We gave the two selected operators two years to deploy their systems. The time has now come for effective enforcement. Either operators deliver on their promises, or the spectrum which they have available, which is a scarce resource, should be used in other ways".

The decision adopted today aims to make it easier for Member States, following a coordinated approach, to decide on potential breaches identified by a competent national authority, as well as ensuring consistent remedies and sanctions if required. Coordination will take place in the Communications Committee, where Member States' authorities responsible for telecommunications are represented along with the Commission.

Background

Systems providing mobile satellite services use radio frequencies to provide services between a mobile Earth station (i.e. a portable satellite phone carried by a person or mounted on a ship or car) and one or more stations either in space (i.e. satellites) or on the ground (terrestrial base stations). Such systems are able to cover large territories and reach remote areas where communication services might not be economically viable via fixed or mobile terrestrial-only networks.

The Commission opted for a single selection and authorisation process for MSS systems throughout the EU in order to facilitate the creation of a Single Market for mobile satellite services, which would be more beneficial to consumers and businesses.

Efforts to achieve this started on 22 August 2007, when the Commission proposed an EU decision for the selection procedure for MSS to be organised at European level (IP/07/1243). Adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 30 June 2008, the decision established a single selection and authorisation process to ensure a coordinated introduction of MSS in the EU. It also empowered the Commission to adopt measures to ensure the coordinated application of national enforcement rules. In February 2011, the Commission issued an urgent call to twenty one EU countries to rapidly introduce all the legislative measures necessary to allow the pan-EU deployment of mobile satellite services (see IP/11/195)

Useful links:

eCommunications policies- Pan European numbers and services:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/current/pan_european/index_en.htm

Digital Agenda for Europe:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/digital-agenda/index_en.htm

Neelie Kroes' website: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/kroes/

Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter: http://twitter.com/neeliekroeseu

Contacts :

Jonathan Todd (+32 2 299 41 07)

Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)


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