Telcos ask EU to help with 3G launch

16 Oct 2003

Top executives at some of Europe’s leading telcos – including Deutsche Telekom, France Télécom, BT, Philips and Ericsson – have urged the European Union (EU) to soften the rollout rules for 3G services. The companies have appealed in particular to the EU’s information society commissioner Erkki Liikanen, asking him to review UMTS licence conditions, claiming that unforeseen delays in some countries have made the original deadlines unrealistic. The telcos also believe that the industry is in need of consolidation, but the EU’s competition commissioner, Mario Monti, has expressed concerns that cooperation between operators could shut out competition, although he has authorised network sharing in the UK and Germany. According to the telcos, the total cost of 3G licences in Europe comes to around EUR110 billion (USD129 billion), with rollout predicted to cost an additional EUR105 billion, although so far only EUR12 billion has been spent.