EU formulating proposal for 25-year mobile licences across Europe, Reuters reports

17 Aug 2016

The European Commission (EC) is working on a proposal which will see all European mobile licences issued for a minimum of 25 years, a move it says will increase investment certainty for operators. According to Reuters, citing a private EU document, the proposal will be published next month and potentially endorsed as early as 2018. Under the provisional plan, the EC would have the power to adopt binding guidance on some conditions of the assignment process, such as the deadlines for spectrum allocation and spectrum sharing. Member states would also be able to jointly organise spectrum auctions to assist with the award of multi-country or pan-EU licences, although this aspect would be voluntary.

The EC has made no secret of its desire to forge a single European telecoms market in recent years and telcos have also called for greater EU coordination of spectrum policy. The plan, however, will still need to be approved by member states and the European Parliament before becoming law, and a certain level of resistance is anticipated. National authorities are likely to be reluctant to relinquish control over how they auction wireless spectrum, which is generally considered to be a national resource.