Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Mobile and personal communications: Europe on the move

The European Commission has adopted a communication on mobile and personal communications (COM/94/492).

The communication contains a comprehensive programme for action in the area of mobile and personal communications, including:

- Full application of competition rules;
- Th...
The European Commission has adopted a communication on mobile and personal communications (COM/94/492).

The communication contains a comprehensive programme for action in the area of mobile and personal communications, including:

- Full application of competition rules;
- The development of a code of conduct for service providers;
- Full access of service providers to the market;
- Promotion of the availability of frequencies and numbers;
- Promotion of targeted programmes to support market entry of emerging mobile technologies.

Additional measures are proposed to develop health and safety standards and to minimize the environmental impact of mobile communications.

Announcing the communication, Mr. Martin Bangemann, Commissioner for industrial affairs, said "Mobility lies at the very heart of the European Union which is based on the free movement of people, services, goods, and capital. The prospect of European-wide advanced mobile communications networks and services will help to turn the information society from vision to reality".

The Commission's Green Paper on mobile communications is the result of extensive consultations in which more than 250 organizations participated either orally or in writing.

General consensus was found on a range of points, including the need for the abolition of exclusive and special rights and a strategy towards the personal communications environment. In other areas, divergent views were expressed, especially where further development of regulatory policy was concerned. There was broad support for early action on liberalization and direct interconnection, with the exception of a majority of existing fixed network operators.

In practice, mobile services are increasingly provided on a competitive basis with, for example, users having a choice between at least two digital mobile telephony systems in almost every Member State. Firm plans are under way for a second network in the few Member States where this is not yet the case.

"Mobile telephony has developed by the force of competition and pragmatic liberalization", Mr. Bangemann stressed. "We are more advanced than our competitors abroad, and we should maintain that competitive edge."

Mobile communications is currently the fastest growing area within the telecommunications sector. Over the last few years it has experienced unprecedented growth in subscriber numbers, especially in cellular mobile telephony. Europe has now more than eleven million cellular mobile telephony users, three million more than when the mobile communications Green Paper was written. There are also more than eight million users of other mobile communications services - in particular, paging and so-called private mobile radio systems.

It is forecast that by the year 2000, there could well be nearly 40 million users in the European Union and, with the growing expansion into personal communications services, this could rise to about 80 million users by the year 2010.

The need for communications "on the move" is becoming a normal part of business life with users including not only multinational executives, but also sales representatives, and delivery and repair staff. In parallel with the integration of voice, data and pictures within new multimedia and on-line services, a personal communications environment is emerging in which traditional distinctions between fixed and mobile networks and services will disappear.

Mobile technologies will help traditional operators to deliver communications services more cheaply into every home, while today's mobile operators will evolve alongside the traditional telecommunications companies to provide nation-wide and Europe-wide networks and services.
DE
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