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Towards mass-market mobile multimedia communications

The European Commission has adopted a communication on the issues affecting further development of mobile and wireless communication in Europe. It aims to present an overview of developments since the 1994 Green Paper on mobile and personal communications and examines the futu...
The European Commission has adopted a communication on the issues affecting further development of mobile and wireless communication in Europe. It aims to present an overview of developments since the 1994 Green Paper on mobile and personal communications and examines the future direction of mobile and wireless communications.

It does this against the background of the market success of GSM and related digital communications services within the EC and worldwide; the increasing use of mobile communications to connect computers and to access the Internet; the development of satellite-based personal communications systems; the substantial regulatory progress made towards the full opening to competition of telecommunications markets in most Member States from 1 January 1998 and the successful conclusion of the WTO deal on basic telecommunications.

Building on these current developments, the communications industry is developing a strategic vision of the next generation of digital mobile systems referred to in Europe as the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS). Details of future service concepts and of future user requirements need to be addressed, in order to formulate regulatory, frequency and standardization responses at a European and national level.

The expected high growth in the sector will present considerable market and export opportunities, as well as having a major impact on overall economic performance and society in Europe. Political interest in the development of this "wireless Information Society" is therefore of considerable importance. The communication invites responses to a number of key questions:

- Is this the right moment to define a strategy for the introduction of UMTS or would regulatory action today be premature?
- Is there a consensus in Europe on the notion of UMTS or third generation mobile communications? Will it be a new single technology, or a number of interoperable solutions based on different technologies?
- What should be the respective roles of the private sector and of public authorities in the transition towards UMTS?
- How can UMTS impact on the competitiveness of Europe's industry?
- How to ensure that the broader social and societal interests are secured in the development of the "wireless Information Society"?

The Commission will, on the basis of the response to the communication, propose, where appropriate, measures to develop Community policy on mobile communications technologies.

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