4/23/2009 12:52:00 PM
CEOs and MPs unite at Digital Britain summit
O2 CEO Ronan Dunne outlined the need for collaboration between mobile and fixed operators, and urged the dispute over spectrum to be settled quickly, at a Digital Britain summit last week.
It was the latest and most high profile landmark in the Government’s Digital Britain ambition to revolutionise the UK’s telecoms and media industries, including 2Mbps broadband speeds for everyone.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown also spoke alongside Government officials such as business secretary Peter Mandelson, culture and media secretary Andy Burnham, as well as CEOs and executives from the telecoms and media industries, at the British Library last Friday (17 April).
Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett and BT CEO Ian Livingston were at the summit, alongside Stephen Fry (in a ‘technophile’ capacity), Channel 4 executive Andy Duncan and the Daily Mirror’s CEO, Sly Bailey.
Dunne (pictured) told delegates: ‘Why is spectrum trade taking so long? There is enough spectrum around – O2 is willing to trade. There is a solution out there but the Government and regulators need to be flexible too.’
O2 and Vodafone are under pressure from rivals to break up the control over the sought-after 900MHz spectrum. Dunne called for efficient use of spectrum ‘to supply as wide coverage as possible’, and added: ‘We need clarity and regulatory certainty. Spectrum is scarce but vital.’
He said: ‘Mobile versus fixed line is not “an either or” – customers want ubiquitous access. Mobile networks are not standalone, they need to use fixed-line infrastructure to deliver service. Speed arms race is not the issue.’
Dunne also called for Europe-wide policy and regulation, and suggested co-operation should be pursued between providers, as the much anticipated consolidation in mobile appears increasingly unlikely.
Virgin Media’s CEO, Neil Berkett, said the mobile network will not be capable of delivering universal access. He also said: ‘There is a need for mobile and fixed line to work together.’