Operators tell EC not to stifle m-commerce

Mobile commerce could be threatened if the European Commission (EC) over-regulates the market, a leading industry body warned...

Mobile commerce could be threatened if the European Commission (EC) over-regulates the market, a leading industry body warned last week.

GSM Europe, which represents 123 operators in 50 European countries serving nearly 350 million subscribers, urged the EC to take a hands-off approach to m-commerce and third generation (3G) mobile services, after expressing concern about forthcoming legislation on e-money.

GSM Europe is concerned that the legislation, which allows non-financial companies such as Internet service providers and mobile operators to issue electronic money, could affect the take-up of m-commerce because the guidelines do not take into account issues specific to the mobile market.

"The commission and regulators should recognise the adverse risk of inappropriate regulation and its overspill on to new and innovative services, including 3G," the body said in a statement.

"The commission should, with respect to the take-up of mobile commerce, ensure that mobile operators can offer innovative m-commerce services for their subscribers without being hindered by inappropriate financial regulation that does not take into account the issues specific to the mobile market, such as pre-pay."

The EC should support and encourage the use of national waivers under the e-money directive - which allows certain e-money issuers to avoid legislation - to enable third party pre-paid micropayments for low cost content and services, GSM Europe added.

Erkki Liikanen, enterprise and information society commissioner, said the EC is committed to ensuring that 3G and associated mobile services are a success. For example, he said, "Pilots and research and development have been launched to stimulate the development of new services, applications and content."

The discussions with GSM Europe have "provided a solid base for a successful launch of 3G services in the very near future", Liikanen added.

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