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Cover Brexit Implications Telecommunications

On 23 June 2016, the UK public voted to leave the EU. That means that, once Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty is applied, the EU treaties will cease in the British territory. Obviously, that also applies to the Telecommunications’ regulations.

These are some of the consequences that will come after this change of the UK and EU law:

 

GRAFICA-01-01Depending on the exact timing of a Brexit, it is possible that the reforms being prepared as part of the Digital Single Market (DSM) initiative will not be implemented into UK law, or if they are implemented, that they will not be maintained. A good example here is the proposed Regulation on the cross-border portability of online content services. It is possible that this will be adopted as a Regulation, before a UK exit date. The Regulation will then automatically cease to apply at the moment UK ceases to be a member of the EU. This may be welcomed by media rights holders (licensors) but unwelcomed to consumers and users of online content, because that will imply higher rates.

 

 

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Another important consequence of Brexit is that UK consumers will no longer be able to benefit from the Roaming Regulation in respect of their use of international roaming services, when travelling within the EU, so again, prices in both data and voice will be much higher. This also affects to UK telecom operators. They may increase roaming tariffs for non-clients but they will also receive higher tariffs from other EU telecom operators for their UK clients.

 

 

GRAFICA-01-03Also, an area where there could be some divergence between the UK and the EU is spectrum management and assignment. Following a Brexit, the UK will no longer be subject to Commission decisions and initiatives on the harmonisation of spectrum allocations and use across the EU.

 

 

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The ambitious targets of the Digital Agenda for Europe, or any other Commission policy for that matter, will no longer apply to the UK. It is unclear whether the UK will continue to apply these targets  once it leaves the EU, though it might, for example, give preference to the same or better broadband speed targets for ubiquitous broadband access.

 

 

Obviously, all this facts will affect both EU and UK companies operating in Europe. The new barriers of entry that will lead to a smaller market-place, may eventually affect their financial results, unless a new treaty, such as the EFTA, is approved.

 

Our digital society moves towards a new generation of communications, the 5G. This means, wired and wireless devices will use the same infrastructure, leading us to the next step of strategic technology thought to this “connected” society. The incorporation of IoT in our daily lives would be easier thanks to the ultra-high bandwidth that will serve to improve connectivity not only for users but for objects.

The goal of 5G is to be available for everybody. Not the case with 4G, which has been fully implemented by American carriers. Which is why Europe is now generating strategies to start the development of 5G technologies.

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It is a fact that as population grows, the metropolis are expanding. People living in urban areas were no more than 29% by 1950, however in 2014 the number achieved the 54% and the proportion is increasing at a very rapid pace. The percentage is expected to grow up to 60% before 2025. More and more inhabitants choose to live in cities and experts have calculated that 1.3 million people are currently moving each week to metropolis. As a consequence, cities are becoming bigger. Nowadays, there are 21 megacities (conurbations with more than 10 million of people), whereas in 1975 there were just 3 (New York, Mexico City and Tokyo).

High density population cities require more water, transportation, place to live, public spaces and energy, and that is why finding solutions is a must. All the answers lie in technology and this is the background idea of “Smart Cities”. According to the European Parliament, ‘A Smart City is a city seeking to address public issues via ICT-based solutions on the basis of a multi-stakeholder, municipally based partnership’.

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We live in the Internet world: we buy and pay through Internet, we need Internet in our jobs, we share pictures, interests and we chat through Internet, we make calls via Internet… All these actions require a large amount of information that must be kept somewhere. Because this data is very valuable and may content sensible and secret material, the security which protects it needs to be very strong and effective. That is the reason why cybersecurity has become one of the most important concerns, not only for companies if not for citizens and governments as well.

The financial damage caused by security breaches is difficult to calculate because there is not one single standard model for estimating the cost of such crimes. However, and according to Go-Gulf, the annual estimated cost over global cybercrime is $100 Billion. Meanwhile, the estimated victims per year is 556 million, which represents over 1.5 million per day or 18 victims per second. In addition, every day more than 100.000 new virus threats have been detected. These numbers show in a clear way the importance of cybersecurity.

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