Telecoms.com – For 5G to succeed European operators need a new deal on regulation and consolidation

Telecoms.com periodically invites third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Bengt Nordstrom of Northsteam explains how regulation, M&A and consolidation in the European telecoms market have divided opinion over the industry’s future direction.

Europe’s large operators have long argued that anti-M&A measures by regulators undermine their future investments by preventing market consolidation. They contend that fewer national operators can devote more resources to better networks and services for their customers, including 5G.

But regulators disagree. They maintain that four-player national markets promote competition and therefore guarantee low prices and high service quality for consumers.

Can new players survive?

Regulators also encourage new players to enter and disrupt the market. That’s why regulators in Germany and Belgium over the summer opened the door for new players to enter their respective mobile markets. Both markets have already consolidated to three operators, but regulators are still prepared to offer spectrum to new players.

However, the overwhelming cost of building an entire nationwide network from scratch along with gaining access to suitable mast sites is the reason why we shouldn’t expect new players to enter the fray in Germany and Belgium.

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