BEREC Chair welcomes the EC proposal to harmonize NRAs’ competencies on market shaping aspects of spectrum management

01 March 2017

Mr Sébastien Soriano, BEREC Chair 2017, took part in several events organized during the Mobile World Congress (Barcelona) including notably the European Internet Forum, the Trans-Atlantic Policy Dialogue, one roundtable and one conference organized by the GSMA. He also took part in several meetings with manufacturers and met with the new FCC Chairman, Mr Ajit Pai.

On several occasions, Mr Soriano had the opportunity to express BEREC views on the ongoing review of the regulatory framework and to share BEREC’s commitment to facilitate the implementation of European digital policy, especially the Gigabit society, 5G, Internet of Things, and entry of new digital players. As such, policymakers and the industry can count on BEREC when it comes to ensuring the existence of competition as a driver for investment. Mr Soriano considered it a “nonsense” to oppose regulation and connectivity; the challenge being to adapt the regulatory toolbox to clear objectives set by the European legislators. He also insisted on the track record of BEREC to deliver as an independent body relying on the expertise of its members.

On spectrum, the BEREC Chair welcomed the Commission’s proposal to harmonize NRAs’ competencies on market shaping aspects of spectrum management. Public authorities, including NRAs have the duty to ensure that connectivity and competition will be optimal in the future. He also warned that a futureproof framework cannot accommodate itself with 25 years individual rights over spectrum chunks that will be decisive for the whole society. Looking back at the great changes the mobile industry has gone through over the last 20 years, he recalled that innovation is such that no one can predict what will be the needs of the sector in 25 years’ time. To support future innovations, including new models and new entries, the framework will need both agility and certainty, which is not the case in the current proposal.

Finally, the BEREC Chair emphasized that networks are a common good and defended the necessity for entrepreneurs and end-users to benefit from an open access to the internet. In this regard he insisted on the need, not only to pursue the transatlantic dialogue built between BEREC and the FCC, but also to enlarge the discussion to interested regulators around the world. When it comes to the relation between net neutrality and 5G, the BEREC Chair reiterated the position adopted in the BEREC Guidelines according to which “Network-slicing in 5G networks may be used to deliver specialised services”.