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Ericsson, Nokia, Vodafone Group, IBM, and Intel have urged European Union (EU) officials to promptly address the region's position in the industrial internet age. They emphasized the necessity of crafting policies to leverage emerging technologies.

Prior to a gathering of digital ministers from EU nations in Ireland, the five companies issued a collective statement outlining crucial alterations required to enhance the EU's global competitiveness.

Pursuing Existing and Futuristic Regulations

Notably, the entities emphasized the need to pursue a "true, digital, single market" based on relevant existing regulations rather than introducing new rules that could impede network deployment. Maintaining existing regulations offers several advantages. Firstly, it provides stability and clarity for businesses operating within the digital market. By building upon established regulations, companies can better predict their legal obligations and plan their operations accordingly.

Secondly, existing regulations have typically been developed through extensive consultation and consideration of various stakeholders' interests. They reflect a balance between fostering innovation and competition while ensuring consumer protection and fair business practices. By leveraging these regulations, policymakers can avoid the potential pitfalls of hastily introducing new rules that may not adequately address the complexities of the digital economy.

Predictably, familiar demands for incentivizing investment in mobile and fixed infrastructure appeared on the list, with the group citing the need for "a fresh approach to merger control and spectrum allocation, involving longer licenses and harmonized rules across member states."

Longer licenses allow companies to make more substantial investments in infrastructure deployment and upgrades, as they can better amortize these investments over an extended period. This can incentivize operators to invest in the expansion of network coverage, improving connectivity for consumers and businesses alike. Furthermore, spectrum allocation plays a critical role in enabling the expansion of wireless networks and the provision of high-speed internet services. By implementing harmonized rules for spectrum allocation, regulators can streamline the process and reduce uncertainty for operators.

The players also expressed a desire for consumer-facing and B2B technologies to be regulated differently, while generally believing that policies should be designed to "encourage trusted companies to thrive in Europe through trade, recruitment, and research."

Pioneering Research in Industrial Applications

Looking ahead to quantum technology and AI, the group emphasized the importance of promoting early-stage research in industrial applications, encouraging resilient supply chains, and preparing "critical infrastructure for migration to quantum-safe standards" as part of cybersecurity policy planning.

“Europe must seize the opportunity to become a global leader in the industrial internet, capitalizing on the potential of emerging technologies like AI, quantum computing, and 5G standalone (5G SA) connectivity,” the five players stated. “Member states and the EU must work with [the] industry to drive the deployment of a world-class digital infrastructure, the adoption of productivity-boosting tools and ensure that the regulatory environment is fit for the future.”