More competitiveness? A single market for cross-border business communications
So far, in the context of the achievement of the Digital Agenda targets much attention has been given to residential markets, leaving aside the pan-European business market segment that is not only important for the DAE broadband targets on but is primarily key to the achievement of the Digital Single Market.
Increasingly, pan European business service users such as banks, multinational corporations and also national or supra-national organisation or any sort of users with business branches or offices in different EU countries, are highlighting their frustrations with the failure of the existing regulatory system to deliver their needs. In the era of digital communications, these entities often compete on a global level and require cross border services with high level quality in all the places where they operate their business.
Their frustration is shared by many of the international or global telecom business service providers that offer tailored cross-border services to high level clients that need fixed or mobile seamless communications all over the EU and beyond.
According to the economic analysis carried out for the European Commission in 2011 , the Economic potential of realising an internal market is €27bn-€55bn or 0.22 – 0.44% GDP. http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/doc/library/ext_stu... .The analysis specifically mentions that business services are one area where different approaches in different countries have held back growth in Europe forcing multi-country operators to duplicate costs and limiting their ability to compete effectively with incumbents across the single market.
The Pan-European business market has for a number of years been considered competitive enough and therefore not eligible for pro-competitive ex-ante regulation. The view that the pan European market is competitive could be considered as correct if one only focussed on the cross border networks and were to exclude the national (local access) dimension of the Pan-European environment. However, Pan-European Network Service Providers which have not rolled out local access networks into domestic markets (as the vast majority of operators have not) or do not have an extensive network, must inevitably rely on the access to the national network service providers (mainly incumbent operators) in order to provide a whole range of products on top of the traditional services to the multi-national/multi-site corporates.
This is the consequence of significantly divergent application of sector regulation and competition law within the EU27. Further, the lack of standardised wholesale offers for business grade perfomance creates a duplication of costs for the pan European operators and ultimately their customers, and limits the economies of scale.
The reviewed Digital Agenda cannot afford to ignore this cross-border issue that affects equally the demand and the supply side of pan-European telecom business services. In a period of economic gloom it is more than ever important to identify untapped potential growth and to enable it.