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[FYI] 3G mobile communications policy

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/c European Communities, 1998 

 Record Control Number : 11969 
                             Date : 1999-01-20 

Category : Miscellaneous

General Information : 

European Commissioner Martin Bangemann, responsible for
telecommunication policy, has firmly rejected US claims of potential
European market access barriers for third-generation (3G) mobile
communication. In response to a letter of 19 December 1998 from the US
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Commissioner Bangemann stated:
"It is the European Union policy to have market demand met by a broad
competitive offering of mobile multi-media serviced, fully in line
with the EU regulatory framework and its WTO obligations." 

Third-generation mobile communication will offer, in addition to
mobile telephony and messaging services, a new dimension of wireless
communications, including access to Internet and to multi-media

On 14 December 1998, the Council of Telecommunication and the European
Parliament adopted a Decision to ensure the availability of at least
one interoperable service in the EU and pan-European roaming for the
benefit of consumers. The Decision requires Member States to prepare
their national licensing regime by 1 January 2000 to allow the
co-ordinated introduction of Universal Mobile Telecommunications
Systems (UMTS) services on their territory by 1 January 2000 at the
latest. This will ensure that, from that date, a consumer in one of
the Member States will be able to use his UMTS terminal when
travelling in any other Member State of the EU. 

In a letter of 19 December 1998 to Commissioner Bangemann, US
Secretary of State Albright, Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky,
Commerce Secretary William Daley and Federal Communication Commission
Chairman William Kennard expressed concern over the EU position and
policy for 3G mobile services. 

Mr Bangemann underlined in his answer that the EU fully supports
global harmonisation of 3G technology standards but that the decision
on this needs to be taken by industry. However, the Commission does
not and will not interfere in such an industry-led process of
technical and commercial consideration. 

Commissioner Bangemann expressed "surprise that the US Government
seems to be asking for regulatory intervention in an industry-led
process", where the real issue seems to be industrial disputes on
Intellectual Property Rights. He further commented that "we would not
deem it appropriate to impose backward compatibility between second-
and third-generation systems, like the US seems to want, nor to impose
convergence of 3G standards towards a single standard, let alone
towards a particular 3G standard, be it at EU or global level." 

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Subject Index Codes : Telecommunications