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Deutsche Telekom CEO Calls for European Surge in Telecoms Technology

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Europe has a right to digital self determination and should not be reckless with it, urged CEO Tim H ttges at the Deutsche Telekom shareholders' meeting in Cologne today.

In areas such as semiconductor chips, terminal devices, and Internet services, the dominance of U.S. and Asian companies seemed unassailable, he said. A comparison of the European telecommunications industry with those in other major economic regions was also cause for concern. With data traffic rising worldwide, the associated revenues were increasing sharply in Asia and the U.S., but falling in Europe - and with it, the strength to invest. Key communication services and corresponding personal data could in future be completely beyond European control.

"We are losing our digital independence," emphasized Höttges and added: "I would like responsibility for Europe from Europe."

"We need a data protection regulation with the same terms and conditions for telecommunications and Internet companies. By that I mean strict, uniform data privacy standards that have to apply to non-European providers too, if they want to offer their services here."

Market regulation should not weaken European providers, but instead strengthen them, explained Höttges. In order to encourage investments in network expansion, he said, the focus of regulation could not just lie on low consumer prices. Allocation of mobile spectrum needed to be harmonized across Europe and also tie in with expansion targets. Roaming charges could be abolished in a single European market following a certain transitional period.

In return, however, the anti-trust authorities would have to stop looking at tiny little individual markets and start seeing Europe as a common market.

The world was facing the next industrial revolution, the road to Industry 4.0, said Höttges. Machine-to-machine networking, the collection and analysis of data and, as a result, the automated control of processes were gaining significance.

"And the raw material of this revolution - the data - runs through our networks. We make the data available, whenever and wherever. And we are making the data usable, with services such as storage on our secure servers - what is known as cloud computing - or platforms for machine-to-machine communication." he added.

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Tags: deutsche telekom