The EU ministers adopted on Tuesday the agreement negotiated between institutions to reform the European Code of Electronic Communications and the mandate of the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (Berec), which, among other things, impose a maximum cost of 19 cents per minute in phone calls between countries of the community block as of May 15, 2019 and promote the deployment of the 5G network throughout the European territory.
In a statement, the Council of the EU highlights that these new European standards for the telecommunications sector seek to promote the rapid deployment of the 5G network, as well as other next-generation networking technologies throughout Europe; stimulate cutting-edge innovation and strengthen consumer protection. "The reform is the cornerstone of the EU's efforts to ensure high quality fixed and mobile connectivity for all, which is considered a key factor for a globally competitive economy and a modern and inclusive society," he points out.
The Council vote concludes the legislative procedure for both the Code, which is a directive, and the BEREC regulation, which were approved by the European Parliament on 14 November. The legal acts will be signed by both institutions on December 12 and will be published in the Official Gazette of the EU on December 17, coming into effect three days after its publication.
Encourage competition and investment
The new code includes measures to encourage competition and stimulate investment in very high capacity networks, for what covers fields such as spectrum allocation, operator access to networks and symmetric regulation of all network providers in specific situations.
In addition, thanks to the code, consumers will be "better protected", since, for example, the rules of consumption will also apply from now on to the services provided through the Internet, such as messaging applications. Member States should also establish compensation rules in case of misconduct by network providers or electronic communications services.
Also, after the successful deployment of 112 as a European emergency number, and based on positive experiences in some EU countries, all states will establish a public warning system to protect even more the citizens. The 'reverse 112' system will send alerts to people's mobile phones in the event of a natural disaster, terrorist attack or other major emergency in their area. It will have to be in force within three and a half years from the entry into force of the Code.
Under its new mandate, the Berec will play "a significant role" in helping EU countries deploy very high capacity networks and will contribute to the smooth and consistent application of the regulatory measures envisaged in the code.
Thus, the new legislative package includes a limit on the price of telephone calls between EU countries of 19 cents per minute as of May 15, 2015, an aspect that was not in the original proposal of the European Commission. The cost of SMS, meanwhile, can not exceed 6 cents.