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Evidence shows an urgent need to reform the rules on telecom markets

Business PeopleAn ETNO press release of last week published on this blog unveiled the results of a new consumer survey on the digital habits and expectations of Europeans in nine major EU markets carried by ComRes. In particular, the survey reveals major changes in EU consumers’ communication habits; consumer concerns on the use of their personal data; consumer priorities on the options offered by smartphones, apps and Operating systems; and a consumer high satisfaction with regards to the telcos’ overall quality of service.

 

Telefónica is not surprised of the results of this survey. In fact, our Digital Manifesto, released in January 2014, also provides information on major changes in consumers’ communication habits that confirm the results of the ComRes survey (see pages 26 to 28). The third chapter of this Manifesto (see pages 74 to 93) unveils consumer concerns on the use of their personal data too, providing the measures that need to be taken in order to restore the lost confidence of consumers in digital services. Regarding the consumer priorities on the options offered by smartphones, apps and Operating systems provided by the ComRes survey, our Digital Manifesto also highlights that consumers “want to access Internet services, applications, devices and content of their choice; wish to have services that are interoperable and prefer open ecosystems; and want a Portable Digital Life: they want to be free to take services and contents with them when they switch their devices (smartphones, tablets).” See pages 32 to 50.

 

In addition, this Manifesto includes 10 policy recommendations to update the regulation to the current consumer habits, meet consumer expectations, create an open and safe Internet experience for all, and unleash the full potential of the Digital Economy:

  1. Build Digital Confidence through a safer Internet experience and by empowering citizens to be in control of their personal data.
  2. Create a Portable Digital Life for consumers by allowing them to use their data, information and applications regardless of their devices or platforms.
  3. Open up mobile Operating Systems, App Stores and other digital platforms to increase users’ freedom, choice and competition.
  4. Promote interoperable Internet applications, communication and messaging services to improve consumer experience and foster competition.
  5. Improve transparency about the conditions of use for Internet services and the distinction between information and advertisement in online search results.
  6. Transform education, learning and teaching by widely adopting digital technologies and services based on Open Resources and Standards.
  7. Promote Open Innovation and Open Standards principles and prevent that undue Intellectual Property protection restricts innovation in the Digital Economy.
  8. Create fairer policy frameworks by establishing the same rules for the same digital services and smarter regulation by relying more on outcome-based policy making and case-by-case supervision.
  9. Make Internet available to everyone by establishing adequate conditions for private investment in broadband infrastructure.
  10. Evolve the policy models of Global Internet Governance by building on its existing foundations and through involvement of all stakeholders in an open manner and on equal footing.

 

Due to the importance that the digital world and the Internet have for the world’s economic growth and social progress, we welcome the release of this survey and support ETNO’s view:

 

  • That “consumers’ new priorities and the convergence of digital services need to shape the upcoming policy debate.”
  • That in order “to ensure consistent and up-to-date protection standards across highly competitive digital markets, the currently fragmented regulatory framework needs reforming.”

 

For more information on Telefónica’s Digital Manifesto, click here.

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Lourdes Tejedor / @madrid2day

Telefónica Public Policy & Telefónica España Regulatory teams