Position papers

ETNO's position papers present its member-companies' views on a wide range of technical, regulatory and trade issues to European Union decision-makers, national governments and the general public.

They are developed either internally by ETNO working groups or, occasionally, in co-operation with third parties such as other industry associations.

Click here for definitions of ETNO Position Papers and Expert Contributions.

  • Position papers

    ETNO response to the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) Preliminary Opinion on Radiofrequency

    ETNO would like to welcome this opportunity to comment on the preliminary Opinion on the need of a revision of the annexes in the Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC and Directive 2013/35/EU, in view of the latest scientific evidence available with regard to radiofrequency.

    ETNO supports revision of the annexes in the EU Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC and Directive 2013/35/EU based on the updated ICNIRP guidelines (2020). In addition, we propose that each Member State applies them and does not impose more stringent limits, nor other conditions, than defined in the annexes.

    More specifically, ETNO strongly urges that each Member State and municipality aligns with the EMF limits defined by ICNIRP. Stricter limits, not based on scientific evidence, confuse the citizens of the Member States. They also lead to worse network capacity, and even difficulties fulfilling coverage obligations and deploying new technologies. They limit cell range and limit possibility to deploy new bands per site. This leads towards much denser networks, which may be challenging due to deployment restrictions. Moreover, higher number of network equipment leads to higher energy consumption and carbon emissions in manufacturing and in operation. The need to keep single antenna site emissions below stricter limits may also slow down the migration from a “stable” technology to an emerging one, due to the need to ensure the continuity of legacy services.

    For questions and clarifications regarding this position paper, please contact:
    - Maarit Palovirta (palovirta@etno.eu), Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs at ETNO.
    - Xhoana Shehu (shehu@etno.eu), Policy Manager, ETNO.

    30 September, 2022 Read more
  • Position papers

    ETNO response to RSPG Consultation on the Draft RSPG Opinion on ITU-R World Radiocommunication Conference 2023

    ETNO appreciates the opportunity to provide comments to the consultation on the Draft RSPG Opinion on ITU-R World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23).

    16 August, 2022 Read more
  • Position papers

    ETNO response to EC call for evidence on EU position for WRC-23

    ETNO appreciates the opportunity to provide comments to the European Commission Call for Evidence on the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 EU position.

    1 August, 2022 Read more
  • Position papers

    Response to public consultation on the Commission’s Call for Evidence for the initiative “State aid – Exemptions for small amounts of aid (de minimis aid)”

    ETNO welcomes the initiative of the Commission and the possibility to provide preliminary comments in response to the Call for Evidence.

    Beyond the fact that the Regulation in force is going to expire at the end of 2023, a review is needed in order to take into account the experience registered since its adoption, the review applied to other State aid relevant laws (i.e. GBER thresholds) and the new market context.

    25 July, 2022 Read more
  • Position papers

    Joint ETNO and GSMA position on the EC proposal for a Data Act

    ETNO and the GSMA, who represent the telecoms sector in Europe and worldwide, welcome the Data Act proposal of the European Commission.

    19 July, 2022 Read more
  • Position papers

    ETNO-GSMA response to the public consultation on the draft BEREC Guidelines on the application of Article 3 of Regulation (EU) 2022/612 of 6 April 2022 on roaming on public communications networks within the Union (Wholesale Roaming Guidelines)


    ETNO and the GSMA, who represent the telecoms sector in Europe, welcome the opportunity to comment on BEREC’s Draft Wholesale Roaming Guidelines. ETNO and the GSMA hope the following detailed comments can serve as a constructive contribution to BEREC’s deliberations on its draft Guidelines.

    Wholesale roaming provisions

    We note that the final Guidelines will not be published until October this year. Given the importance of the Guidelines for implementation of the new Roaming Regulation and the gap between such adoption and the effective date of the Regulation itself, we consider that the immediate update of contracts as implied by the last paragraph of Guideline 1 is disproportionate. We therefore urge BEREC to update the Guidelines to reflect that existing access agreements “need to be gradually updated as necessary to make them consistent with the Roaming Regulation”. This gradual transition is considered in the Regulation in recital 14.

    In respect of Guideline 5, we consider that a one-month period for refusal to be provided in writing to the access seeker is too short and that a more appropriate “reasonable timeframe” would be sixty days. This procedure is expected to take longer than the provision of the draft agreement referred to in Art 3(5). In addition we consider that the Guidelines should be amended to reflect that such a period should only commence “after the initial receipt of the complete request by the MNO”. Without a complete request the receiving operator cannot conduct a full evaluation and determine if there are any objective reasons for refusal such as technical feasibility and network integrity.

    BEREC states in the second paragraph of Guideline 6 that it “considers that it is reasonable to prioritise requests for 4G services, including VoLTE, if such wholesale roaming agreements are not in place already”. ETNO and the GSMA are of the view that the addition of “while allowing for sufficient implementation time on the side of the visited network” is required to reflect the fact that prioritisation can be best determined by the visited operator and the current wording introduces scope for the provision to be used as unwarranted leverage by the access seeker. The established market practice is that the operator planning to switch-off a network sends its partners periodic reminders, more frequently as the deadline approaches.

    Read the whole document at the link below
    . For questions and clarifications regarding this paper, please contact Xhoana Shehu, Policy Officer (shehu@etno.eu).

    27 June, 2022 Read more
  • Position papers

    ETNO response to the public consultation on the Informal Guidance Notice for businesses – anti-competitive agreements and abuse of a dominant market position

    ETNO welcomes the update of the Commission Notice on informal guidance and appreciates the intent of the revision.

    Indeed, ad hoc guidance letters, that are also publicly accessible, are a very important complement to the other existing competition tools. In particular, wider and more flexible criteria for providing individual businesses with guidance letters could significantly improve legal certainty. Therefore, a review that will enable companies and the Commission to use this tool more often and in a more flexible way would benefit the businesses, but also the market (and, in the end, the consumers too).

    In this sense, ETNO is pleased that the explicit purpose of the review is to change the current criteria that narrowly interpreted the circumstances in which the Commission could provide informal guidance pursuant to Recital 38 of Regulation 1/2003, and that the Commission has affirmed that “such a very strict approach is no longer justified”.

    Therefore, we welcome that the draft of the Notice has explicitly extended – also in the title itself – the scope of application of the Notice, which is now more in line with recital 38 of Regulation 1/2003; enabling the Commission to provide informal guidance to businesses in cases of «unresolved» questions, and not only in the case of new questions (as per the current Notice).

    This way, the Notice would cover cases in which businesses are genuinely uncertain about the application of antitrust rules. Thus, the main positive achievement in the draft is that cases where there is no «sufficient clarity» (instead of «no clarification») in the existing Union legal\ framework, nor «sufficient» (the term “sufficient” has been added in the draft) publicly available general guidance at Union level in decision-making practice or previous guidance letters could now fall within the scope of the Note (par. 7(a) of the draft Notice).

    However, in our vision, the relevant purposes and objectives mentioned above cannot be better achieved without some revisions of the draft, as suggested in the next two paragraphs of this paper. These revisions are necessary to ensure that the objective of making guidance more accessible to applicants, and thereby to obtain sufficient legal certainty, can be met without imposing further burdensome obligations on companies. Without these changes, applicants may be dissuaded from seeking guidance and no progress in use of the tool would be achieved.

    Read the whole document at the link below. For questions and clarifications regarding this paper, please contact Maarit Palovirta, Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs (palovirta@etno.eu).


    21 June, 2022 Read more
  • Position papers

    Empowering Consumers in the Green Transition

    ETNO welcomes the opportunity to comment on the European Commission’s proposal for a Directive on empowering the consumer in the green transition through better protection against unfair practices and better information.

    The core of our members’ business is the provision of digital infrastructure and connectivity. Digital technologies, and the services which they support, are a crucial enabler for a more sustainable economy and society, with the consumer at the centre. Next generation connectivity, such as 5G and fibre, as well as the deployment of smart network technologies, enables more efficient technologies and services, and allows for a more energy-efficient management of telecommunications networks.

    We support more standardised and reliable information on sustainability, building on established good practices. The Commission’s proposal makes important steps in this direction.

    Information on the reparability of products

    In addition to the provision of access to communications services for consumers, our members provide telecommunications user devices, such as routers, set-top boxes, and mobile handsets, to allow customers to avail of the communications services to which they are subscribed. Our members also provide secondarily mobile devices such as watches, tablets, connected PCs, IpT devices. ETNO welcomes initiatives which promote a more circular economy, including information on the reparability of products, the RED revision on a universal charger, and the forthcoming initiative on the right to repair.

    Already today, telecoms operators have taken decisive measures to increase circularity in their business. These measures include selecting suppliers and products in compliance with environmental sustainability criteria, periodically checking along the entire life cycle, recycling and refurbishing devices, using labelling to enable customers’ informed choice in favour of sustainable products and services, and reducing their own waste.

    It is worth also mentioning the Eco Rating initiative that has been recently launched by Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, Telia Company and Vodafone. The ambition is to create a holistic methodology to identify more sustainable mobile phones, which combines various aspects of the ecological performance into a scoring system related to durability, reparability, recyclability as well as climate and resource efficiency. Existing initiatives have the added advantage that they are already known to consumers, saving public authorities the resources to develop and promote another initiative to the general public.

    While the consumer must have clear and accurate information on the reparability of products, in order to fully benefit from this option, some clarifications must be made in the legislative proposal. The concept of a reparability score is helpful in so far as it could indicate to the consumer in an understandable way whether or not a product can be repaired, and the ease / cost with which this can be done. At present, the legislative proposal does not provide sufficient clarity on the nature of this score, or on the parameters to be considered when scoring a given product. It is imperative that the manufacturer, and not the seller, is held accountable with regard to reparability, as only the manufacturer controls the hardware design and determines the availability of spare parts and software updates.

    Furthermore, in addition to a clear and transparent definition on the reparability score, the legislative framework should also take into account existing voluntary initiatives to assess the reparability of a product, which is already considered as part of the Eco Rating initiative (see above).

    Digital elements and digital services

    Clearer definitions are needed for the concepts of ‘digital elements’, ‘digital content’, and ‘digital services’, in order that the corresponding obligations are clear to understand for producers and providers.

    An important issue which should be taken into account with respect to ensuring the longer durability and useability of mobile devices is cybersecurity. Software on mobile devices, and indeed all connected devices, should be regularly updated to ensure the highest level of cybersecurity and consumer protection. Together with measures designed to encourage and facilitate the longer use and repair of devices, emphasis should be given to awareness raising for cyber-hygiene.

    It is important that the consumer receive notification on the impact of a given software update on the sustainability, lifetime or energy consumption of a product or service (Annex (4) point ‘23d), however this must not in any way risk that a consumer is put in a position to make a trade-off between maintaining the status quo (no update) for the sake of maintaining the same level of sustainability or energy consumption, and exposing the product or service to cybersecurity threats.

    Under EU Regulations 2019/770 and 2019/771, operators are obliged, as a seller, to deliver software updates, although they have no control of the creation and provision of updates in the mobile phone business. Developers control the source code of the device software, and as such, only they can create updates. Moreover, there are uncertain legal terms, such as the period for which updates have to be provided, which should be avoided for the sake of legal certainty. Commitments should come into play at the right point in the supply chain – more specifically those who can implement obligations – and legal terms should be as precise as possible.

    Prohibited practices

    We welcome the prohibition of certain misleading actions on the part of economic operators, which could lead consumers to take a transactional decision on the basis of information provided prior to the signing of a contract or the purchase of a good or service.

    We welcome in particular the prohibition to display potentially misleading certificates claiming the sustainability of a given product or service, and the use of labels or certification schemes which are not recognised. In addition to the use of sustainability labels developed by public bodies, it is important that industry initiatives have the opportunity to be recognised and rolled out as an indication of the sustainability of a product or service.

    Harmonisation across EU Member States

    The legislative tool chosen is a Directive on the grounds that the proposed text needs to be implemented in two other Directives (namely the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and the Consumer Rights Directive). However, fragmentation could be avoided by ensuring that the proposed measures be transposed under the principle of full harmonisation. This is for instance already the case with a number of provisions in the CRD (Art. 4), although it still allows for derogations in specific articles.


    For questions, please contact Ross Creelman, Public Policy Manager (creelman@etno.eu).

    30 May, 2022 Read more
  • Position papers

    ETNO’s response to the EC public consultation on cybersecurity of digital products and ancillary services – Cyber Resilience Act

    ETNO welcomes the opportunity to provide complementary views to its response to the European Commission’s (EC) public consultation on the cybersecurity of digital products and ancillary services.

    25 May, 2022 Read more
  • Position papers

    ETNO Statement on the European Chips Act

    ETNO welcomes the European Commission’s proposal establishing a framework of measures for strengthening Europe's semiconductor ecosystem (Chips Act). A robust legal framework will respond to the need for a sustainable and resilient semiconductor supply chain across different geographies and ensure the EU’s place in the global supply chain.

    The severe disruption of global supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the EU’s heavy reliance on both Asia and the United States for the design and manufacture of chipsets that are used in products that are fabricated or imported in the EU. Chip shortages have impacted some industries more visibly than others. This situation is further exacerbated by the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war, notably for raw materials in chipsets that are manufactured typically in the US.

    The Commission should take into consideration the needs of industry across all sectors. Although some industries that have been more visibly impacted by the recent chip shortages are in the focus, the importance of the ICT sector, and in particular of the telecoms industry, must not be overlooked.

    The telecoms industry provides the underlying enabling technology for a vibrant digital economy and society across the EU. As the industry evolves towards next generation technologies that are increasingly dependent, whether from a smartphone perspective or a network perspective, on cutting-edge chipset design and manufacturing, the availability of a diverse and resilient set of supply options will be crucial to ensure that future telecom networks and services contribute to strengthening the European semiconductor ecosystem.

    Enabling EU manufacturing capabilities by encouraging and supporting the enrichment of the entire EU supply chain, and thereby achieving more industrial independence from Asia and the US, will be important not only for smartphone chipsets, but also for server and telecommunications network infrastructure chipsets. With 5G and the advance of virtualised and disaggregated network architectures (e.g. Open RAN), the demand for state-of-the-art chipsets will increase even further. Additionally, development and supply of highly energy-efficient processors will be a significant enabler for environmentally sustainable IT devices and networks.

    A key success factor of the European Chips Act package depends on the skills and competences required, as well as on the colossal investments needed for such developments in the EU in order to enable a viable and dynamic EU semiconductor ecosystem that can compete globally.

    We look forward to further working together with decision-makers to streamline and focus the deliverables of the EU Chips Act package.

    11 May, 2022 Read more
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