@ MWC: Industry To Regulators: ‘Hands Off!’

Yesterday, EU telco commissioner Vivianne Reding and GSM Association CEO Rob Conway were on the same page when they teamed for a joint press conference. Today, the gulf between mobile players and regulators couldn’t be wider. Conway used his keynote to say: “When governments step in to control retail pricing… by government intervention, you constrain innovation. We are united that government intervention is not what we want to see.” Confused? In recent months, Reding has intervened to lower roaming call and data prices impose a mobile TV standard on handset makers and introduce continent-wide DRM standardization.

In a later panel on mobile content DRM, however, Hewlett-Packard’s communications, media and entertainment VP and CTO Brian Levy panned the EC proposals, which came in Reding’s January plan to create a “single-market for content” – a document that tries to protect rightsholders but which many think has come too late. “Politicians really don’t understand the technology,” Levy said. “God, the politicians are going to tell us what standards we’re going to use on a device – that’s scary. P2P doesn’t equate to illegal content – some of the government people need to understand that.”