The European Commission just published a report on the telecommunications market and regulation in the EU, showing that investment in the field starts to grow again, data traffic is growing quickly, together with an increase in VoIP calls. However, huge discrepancies still exist among EU countries.

"We are clearly still a long way from a real single market. We need to cut red tape and we need more consistent regulatory action at both national and EU levels; the implementation of the Broadband Cost Reduction Directive will contribute to this objective but there is more to do." Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the Commission

The main findings of the report:

  • Industry revenues again declined in 2013 but investment is beginning to grow;

  • Use of traditional telephony services is decreasing as internet (VoIP) services become increasingly popular;

  • Data traffic is growing quickly;

  • Mobile voice call and data prices are higher in the EU than in the US, while the usage of mobile is higher in the US, resulting in a higher ‘average revenue per user’ in the US.

  • Only Denmark, Germany, Latvia and Malta met the 2012 target for the authorisation of the specific spectrum bands. 21 Member States did eventually meet the target in 2013, but the delay in assignment of the 800 MHz band has significantly slowed the roll-out of 4G mobile across the EU.

  • The time needed to obtain permits to roll-out new networks ranges from a few days to years depending on where in the EU you are building the network. Most authorities still do not allow for electronic submission of requests.