A Call for Policymakers to Stimulate Advanced Connectivity and Digitalization to Secure Europe’s Competitiveness

Author photo: Chantal Polsonetti
ByChantal Polsonetti
Acquisition or Partnership
Europe’s Digital Competitiveness

Five leading technology companies called for urgent action from policymakers to stimulate Europe’s digital competitiveness and ensure that it remains on the priority list for the incoming European Commission.   Ahead of a meeting between D9+ digital ministers in Dublin, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia, and Vodafone argued that policymakers should strive to achieve a true Digital Single Market, address the digital connectivity investment gap, and avoid introducing unnecessary regulatory burdens for companies operating in the digital ecosystem.

In the joint statement, the companies highlighted five key policy actions they deem necessary to drive EU competitiveness through technology:

1. Accelerate the Development of a true Digital Single Market

Policymakers must focus on the consistent, coherent implementation of existing regulations on the digital ecosystem, working to leverage the power of a true Digital Single Market. They should avoid introducing new regulatory burdens that make it difficult for telecom companies to speed up network deployments, or for other businesses to adopt digital tools.

2. Incentivize Investment in Advanced Connectivity

Europe needs healthy telecoms operators with the scale to invest in 5G Standalone, fiber, and, in the future, 6G. The regulatory framework for telecoms needs modernizing, including through a fresh approach to merger control and spectrum allocation, involving longer licenses and harmonized rules across Member States. Advanced connectivity solutions, which are needed to optimize the use of energy and natural resources in line with EU sustainability goals, should also become part of the EU’s taxonomy in order to attract green financing to support network deployments.

3. Regulate B2B and Consumer-facing Technologies Differently

European policy objectives should focus on fixing market failures, ensuring a level playing field, and addressing identified risks to society. When considering regulation, policymakers should distinguish between B2B service providers – usually operating under well-functioning contractual agreements, with limited access to client data – and companies with consumer facing products or services.

4. Foster Policies that Make Trusted Companies Thrive in Europe.

The policy environment must encourage trusted companies to thrive in Europe through trade, recruitment, and research. Cooperation between like-minded countries, including transatlantic cooperation, also remains essential to supporting a positive business environment.

5. Ensure Europe is Ready to Reap the Benefits of Quantum and AI

The quantum era will be as transformative as it is disruptive, leading to breakthroughs in strategic industries like healthcare, finance, and logistics. It will also create new challenges for security. Policymakers should prepare for the quantum era by promoting early-stage experimentation in industrial application and deployment, encouraging resilient supply chains, and incentivizing private sector investment in Europe. Policymakers should also focus on preparing critical infrastructure for migration to quantum-safe standards as part of their cybersecurity policy planning – areas that deserve particular and increased R&D support. In that context, European R&D funding mechanisms and processes should be better coordinated and improved.

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