EU to plot telecom reforms this year: FT

Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:48pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union will set out reforms for a pan-European telecommunications market this year to support competition and investment in the sector, the bloc's telecoms chief, Neelie Kroes, said in an interview with the Financial Times.

"We're working on a range of measures to create common and stable conditions across the EU for telecoms competition, investment and growth, which should also make cross-border consolidation more attractive," the European commissioner for digital agenda said in comments published on the paper's website on Sunday.

Kroes said she was not seeking a single regulator, but greater cooperation between the European Commission and national regulators, as well as asset-sharing between companies to promote investment.

The comments followed a report in the Financial Times on Wednesday that EU competition chief Joaquin Almunia had met with the heads of Europe's big telecoms groups to discuss a pan-European infrastructure network.

However, industry sources later played down the idea of a single network, saying the November meeting had focused on whether the large number of operators could be consolidated through takeovers.

Executives from Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE: Quote), France Telecom FTE.PA, Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI: Quote), Telefonica (TEF.MC: Quote), KPN (KPN.AS: Quote) and Belgacom BCOM.BR attended the meeting with Almunia.

(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Dale Hudson)

A man talks on a mobile telephone in front of Tower Bridge whilst walking across London Bridge in London March 1, 2010. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor