Vimpelcom, Telekom Austria CEOs wade into EU price regulation debate

2 Mar 2012

Dow Jones Newswires has reported that Telekom Austria CEO Hannes Ametsreiter has joined a chorus of telecoms executives urging less regulation from Europe as the wireless sector comes to terms with tough economic conditions and potentially huge outlays for the construction of fourth-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks. Speaking to Dow Jones at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Ametsreiter commented: ‘There is no reason for politicians to intervene as a market is in place and prices decrease, even if we maybe haven’t [got] the perfect offers for the consumer’. Meanwhile, Vimpelcom chief executive Jo Lunder used his keynote speech to call for an easing of regulation, also warning that the industry has to contend with massive investments in infrastructure to cope with higher data traffic.

The statements follow a war of words between European Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who is spearheading the Digital Agenda project, and Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao earlier this week. Colao complained about the European Union’s (EU) enforced price cuts and called for a moratorium. Kroes hit back by saying that she was ‘willing to call the company’s bluff’ and that she ‘doesn’t respond well to threats’. She continued: ‘I take the side of the Vodafone customer … if consumers lose the fear of using their smartphones and tablets [because of lower fees] when travelling across Europe, operators will benefit as well’.

Austria, Russia, United Kingdom, A1 Telekom Austria Group, VEON, Vodafone Group