A telecom tower

Brussels, 6 June 2024 – MVNO Europe urges caution – and consideration for MVNOs – as a reaction to European leaders’ calls for consolidation in the telecommunications market.

At the occasion of their meeting in Meseberg, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron called for a change in European competition rules to allow for the consolidation of mobile communications companies, with the overall aim of strengthening European competitiveness.

MVNO Europe, the association representing Mobile Virtual Network Operators, considers that the European Union must take the importance, and concerns, of MVNOs into account in any future vision of the European telecommunications sector.

As a crucial point, the EU should ensure the facilitation of network access for MVNOs. Such consideration is vital given the role that MVNOs play in the market. MVNOs differentiate themselves from other market players through the provision of innovative services. Indeed, MVNOs drive pan-European business innovation through Internet of Things (IoT) solutions that cater to enterprise requirements. MVNOs also play a vital role in providing services tailored to users’ needs – appealing to those that have specific connectivity requirements.

Providing connectivity and enabling innovation are critical for Europe’s future competitiveness.  MVNOs should thus not be sidelined in the pursuit of creating European Telecoms Champions. This is of concern to MVNOs, who face real threats from large operators in national markets when mergers occur. Mergers between Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) can result in eliminating competition from small players who are often able to innovate more effectively than these large operators.

Furthermore, within the vision of large European telecommunications operators espoused by Chancellor Scholz and President Macron, MVNOs (focused on IoT, business-to-business, also services for consumers) can also emerge as global players, notably by leveraging the fact that their domestic market is the European market. For this to occur, MVNOs must be encouraged to consider the EU as their domestic market. Rather than encouraging the emanation of a couple of European telecoms operators, EU Member States should work towards creating a true Single Market in which companies can operate seamlessly across borders in a large European domestic market.

The completion of the Single Market would already be an immense asset to Europe’s global competitiveness, allowing for companies to grow naturally while not impeding competition.

MVNO Europe would like to urge policymakers and EU Member States to consider the central role that MVNOs play in the electronic communications sector. By going forward with the idea of creating a few European telecoms champions, the European Union risks eradicating an innovative and competitive asset for the future of connectivity and risks damaging end-user interests.