In anticipation of European Parliament elections, the GSMA (the Global System for Mobile Communications Association) released their Mobile Industry Manifesto for Europe as a call for policymakers to prioritize modernising and adapting laws to fit the future of the mobile industry and prepare for a new era of “Intelligent Connectivity” by working together on these issues.

As Europe is a region with the world’s highest rate of internet connectivity and mobile connections are expected to add €720 billion to the annual GDP of the EU by 2022, maintaining the right policy environment for further growth is a priority.

Among the needed reforms advocated by the GSMA are specific changes to laws regarding two major areas: network infrastructure and digital services. Laws surrounding network connectivity fail to support investment to the degree necessary to support the transition to 5G networks, which will have different legislative needs than 4G.

Governments in the European Union will need to work to accommodate this new technology, and the needs that surround it, as well as focus on fostering investment by lowering spectrum fees and sitting costs, in addition to looking over telecoms taxes.

Furthermore, the GSMA calls on European lawmakers to strengthen digital confidence and work alongside companies to ensure safety, accountability, and transparency for EU citizens by crafting the necessary laws that protect consumers and ensure fair competition for companies, especially as more accountability is expected from big technology companies.

The GSMA also encourages policymakers to work with companies in order to create a new network security reference by utilising the knowledge of both operators and international and national standards. To this, Afke Schaart, VP and Head of Europe for the GSMA, remarked that they were ready to “play [their] role so European citizens feel digitally empowered and protected at the same time”.