EU negotiators reached a political agreement to update the EU’s telecoms rules

The European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement to update the EU’s telecoms rules. The new European Electronic Communications Code, proposed by the Commission, will boost investments in very high capacity networks across the EU, including in remote and rural areas.

The new Electronic Communications Code will:

  • Enhance the deployment of 5G networks by ensuring the availability of 5G radio spectrum by end of 2020 in the EU and providing operators with predictability for at least 20 years in terms of spectrum licensing; including on the basis of better coordination of planned radio spectrum assignments.
  • Facilitate the roll-out of new, very high capacity fixed networks by making rules for co-investment more predictable and promoting risk sharing in the deployment of very high capacity networks; promoting sustainable competition for the benefit of consumers, with a regulatory emphasis on the real bottlenecks, such as wiring, ducts and cables inside buildings; and a specific regulatory regime for wholesale only operators. Moreover, the new rules will also ensure closer cooperation between the Commission and the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) in supervising measures related to the new key access provisions of co-investment and symmetric regulation.
  • Benefit and protect consumers, irrespective of whether end-users communicate through traditional (calls, sms) or web-based services (Skype, WhatsApp, etc.) by:
    • ensuring that all citizens have access to affordable communications services, including universally available internet access, for services such as egovernment, online banking or video calls;
    • ensuring that international calls within the EU will not cost more than 19 cents per minute, while making sure that the new rules would not distort competition, innovation and investment;
    • giving equivalent access to communications for end-users with disabilities;
    • promoting better tariff transparency and comparison of contractual offers;
    • guaranteeing better security against hacking, malware, etc.;
    • better protecting consumers subscribing to bundled service packages;
    • making it easier to change service provider and keep the same phone number, including rules for compensations if the process goes wrong or takes too long;
    • increasing protection of citizens in emergency situations, including retrieving more accurate caller location in emergency situations, broadening emergency communications to  text messaging and video calls, and establishing a system to transmit public warnings on mobile phones.