Public Policy at Vodafone
Vodafone actively engages with governments, policymakers and regulators on issues affecting the customers and societies we serve.
Together, we can achieve a more sustainable, inclusive and digital future for all.
The challenge facing Europe
Today’s European Union (EU) is lagging behind its global competitors as the next industrial revolution unfolds – powered by 5G connectivity and digital innovation.
We cannot afford for that gap to grow and for Europe to sacrifice its proud history of innovation. If it does, the EU could lose its manufacturing and industrial base, and see prosperity and opportunity reduced for our children.
Europe must Connect to Compete
Together, we can transform European competitiveness and unlock economic growth through digital.
Europe's failure to keep pace with the US in the first wave of internet and software technologies has left it in a weakened position. If it continues to fall behind in digital transformation, it risks losing not only its competitiveness but also its strongholds in traditional industries, including luxury goods and automotive.
Europe's position as a global leader, and its ability to assert influence on the world stage, are at stake.
Shaping the future of connectivity
Telecoms technology is driving a revolution in the way we access, use and share data online. In this interactive story from Vodafone, discover what the future of connectivity really looks like - from 5G and the Internet of Things, to Artificial Intelligence and cloud-based networks - and what it could mean for you.
A new wave of digital innovation is coming.
The way we interact with the internet looks set to change forever.
But Europe needs significant investment in 5G and fixed wireless infrastructure to achieve its digital ambitions.
Telecoms operators, big tech content creators and governments must come together and find a way to fix it.
5G – driving the next industrial revolution
Vodafone is a world leader in 5G technology, operating Europe’s largest 5G network and expanding our services.
But what really is 5G?
What benefits could it bring to European citizens and industry?
What role does it play in shaping Europe’s digital future?
More 5G stories
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Open RAN – a solution to the network equipment supplier challenge
Open RAN is a new approach to building mobile networks and offers a solution to Europe’s challenge of vendor diversity. Rather than working with a single vendor to provide RAN equipment for an entire site, Open RAN aims to reduce the barriers to market entry for smaller suppliers that might not have the financial power or resources to build and manage every element – such as antennas, baseband units, servers and so on.
Open RAN stories
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Artificial intelligence – managed responsibly
Vodafone has deployed artificial intelligence for years, now used in 120 different functions across the organisation. Machine learning is helping us plan and run better our networks, reaping sustainability benefits for the nation and efficiency wins for our customers.
Everything we do with AI is guided by our responsible framework for AI. This was among the first corporate AI frameworks of its kind when introduced in 2019. A team involving all relevant functions at senior managerial level ensures that it is kept up to date in line with new developments.
Policy positions and reports
Digital for Europe: collaboration, innovation, transformation
The pressing need to kick-start the COVID-19 recovery presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to not just rebuild the economy but to ‘build back better’. If successful, the benefits for Europe, its citizens and their businesses could be transformative - economically, socially and environmentally.
This paper, commissioned by Vodafone as a companion to its recent series of Europe.Connected papers, explores a series of digital opportunities that will help deliver on the EU’s ambition for Europe’s Digital Future and the European Green Deal.
How can policymakers and industry work together to ensure effective digitalisation of SMEs
The current economic environment is challenging for all businesses in Europe. However, for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the inflationary pressure means that the cost of doing business may become unsustainable. Against this backdrop, and with overlapping crises impacting the global competitiveness of European businesses, digitalisation can unlock multiple benefits for SMEs. This paper aims to gauge SMEs’ needs in an increasingly digitalised world and how policymakers and large organisations can work together to help them realise their full digital potential, in line with the EU’s 2030 Digital Decade targets.
Farmers and Digitalisation - Insights from Farmers in Europe and Africa
Farming is firmly in the spotlight. In both Europe and Africa, the pressures of food security and sustainability are being felt. Farm-level productivity has rarely been more relevant to policymakers. The war in Ukraine, climate change and global hunger are driving the need for urgent action, and digital farming technology offers much-needed solutions. This report provides much needed insights into the perspectives of farmers. It helps move us closer to understanding how the digital transition can accelerate the green transition, while enhancing productivity and food security – and in doing so, respond to the urgent threat of climate change.
‘Fit for the Future’ Cities: How technology can accelerate sustainable change
Read our latest insights from city decision makers and influencers across Europe on their attitudes towards smart solutions, where they are on their journey and what roadblocks are standing in the way of progress.
OTT traffic-related costs on EU telecommunication networks
Data traffic on telecommunication networks continues to grow at an exponential rate, driven by an increase in the usage of internet services (such as video streaming and gaming) delivered ‘over-the-top’ (OTT) to end users by internet platforms and the development of more data intensive OTT applications. In this report, Frontier Economics calculates the costs that are associated with the ‘traffic sensitive’ elements of fixed and mobile telecom networks across Europe and total costs that can be attributed to OTT traffic.
Progress towards the EU’s Digital Decade ambition
The European Union’s (EU) Digital Decade, which sets key targets on different digital areas until 2030, is the EU’s vision for Europe’s digital transformation and a critical element in Europe maintaining its global competitiveness in a rapidly changing world. Yet the proportion of businesses using cloud technology, in particular, must significantly increase in order to meet the European Commission’s Digital Decade 2030 goal. In this report, produced by Deloitte and commissioned by Vodafone, four key policy enablers are set out that could help enable the EU to realise its European Digital Decade goals.
Open strategic sovereignty
Cloud technology, and increasingly edge technology, is a key strategic enabler for Europe’s digital and green transitions. This report, in partnership with Capgemini Invent, analyses the dynamics currently at play in the European market and makes policy recommendations on how best to achieve a trusted European edge-cloud ecosystem.
Securing the 5G ecosystem in Europe
5G with the Internet of Things – everyone connected to everything – is as transformational for small to large enterprises as 4G was for consumers. China and the US have understood 5G’s strategic importance and are investing at speed through scaled operators with strong balance sheets. This is in stark contrast to Europe, where regulation has promoted price over quality, leaving the sector fragmented and indebted, and the continent with a large investment gap.
Rural Connectivity Report
Enhancing the lives and prospects of those living in rural areas has long been the vision of EU and national governments. Access to digital infrastructure and fast, reliable connectivity are key for people to improve their livelihoods and for businesses to flourish in rural communities across Europe. And looking to the future, next generation networks will create new jobs in rural economies, improve agricultural productivity and enhance local public services. This new report, ‘Enhancing Rural Connectivity’ produced by Deloitte and commissioned by Vodafone, is a useful tool for governments and policymakers to assess the socio-economic benefits of enhanced rural connectivity, and the policy options and reforms needed to improve digital connectivity, with useful examples of how this can be achieved.
SME Digitalisation – charting a course towards resilience and recovery
Small and medium enterprises are the beating heart of Europe’s economy, and our post-COVID-19 recovery will be dependent on how well they are able to recover and thrive, driving innovation and job creation across the continent. This study analyses the experiences of SMEs through the crisis, from the start of the pandemic up until July 2020 – and it clearly demonstrates how digital has supported SME resilience throughout that period. We have also used this research to look to the future, consider how government digital policy can best support SMEs and ensure we do not see the ‘digital divide’ that was already evident in this area become further entrenched as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. We believe the findings are very relevant to governments as they put in place policies to ensure that SMEs have what they need to bounce back from COVID-19. This report includes expert independent analysis and evidence from Deloitte.
An Industrial 5G Spectrum policy for Europe
Policymakers recognise that gigabit connectivity propels the digital transformation of both industry and society. A successful rollout of 5G across Europe is a necessary condition for this European digital transformation. Therefore, consistent and predictable regulation is critical, supported by policies that promote development and tackle fragmentation. Despite this, there is an ongoing regulatory discussion on the issue of whether internationally harmonised cellular spectrum should be ‘set aside’ for private localised use instead of auctioned to whoever is able to create the largest value to society, including nationwide public networks. In this report, we demonstrate that set-aside policies will lead to a significant consumer welfare loss, reducing the incentive for investment by distorting competition, inflating the costs of spectrum licences and limiting the ability of operators to build the best 5G networks possible for everyone. This report includes expert independent analysis and evidence from the consultancies Arthur D. Little and Compass Lexecon.
Connecting Europe for a better future - Vodafone's Policy Priorities
Vodafone believes in the promise of Europe. Despite the significant and important progress driven by the Digital Single Market, we believe that Europe needs a step change: one that turbo-charges investment and lays the foundations for top-class European digital infrastructure through the creation of better conditions for digital solutions made in Europe and which builds trust in the digital society, empowering European citizens. The EU’s strategic agenda spanning 2019-2024 will be pivotal. This white paper examines policies that could address the significant challenges that Europe faces today and which will ensure that Europe is in a position to be a global leader in the next phase of the digital revolution.
In the digital deployment report, we have identified six key policy aspects that, we believe, impact investors’ abilities to deploy competing fixed and mobile digital networks in a given market. Governments and policymakers can stimulate investment by examining their policies in each of these areas in comparison with peers and ensuring they have a plan to adopt best practice. This report provides policymakers with the best practices and the degree of variation across our 12 EU markets and makes policy recommendations to improve the ease of digital infrastructure deployment.
A new IoT regulatory framework for Europe
The value IoT could bring to Europe is well recognised. If the regulatory landscape is right, these benefits could transform Europe’s standing in terms of global competitiveness and 5G connectivity. In order to unlock these advantages, a new cross-sectoral regulatory framework is needed.
Realising the economic potential of machine-generated, non-personal data in the EU
In this report, commissioned by Vodafone, Deloitte considers the economic potential of machine-generated, non-personal data in the European Union. This type of data is particularly relevant to the Internet of Things and Deloitte’s review focuses on the agriculture, automotive, healthcare, smart city and manufacturing sectors. The report estimates the potential value of this form of data and how this value is derived from sharing. It also identifies barriers to that value being realised and makes policy recommendations to ease those barriers.
Creating a Gigabit Society – the role of 5G
This study focuses on the important role that 5G mobile has to play in achieving the Gigabit Society vision, highlighting the consumer and industrial innovations that 5G will facilitate. It also makes recommendations on the key policy areas that need to be addressed in order to capitalise on the benefits that 5G can bring.
Vodafone public policy news
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