By 2012, the EU commission started promoting Network Sharing as a tool to bring socio-economic benefits to European nations. It took them just one year (in 2013) to advise Telecom National Regulatory Authorities (NRA) to authorise both passive and active infrastructure sharing. Late 2014 then was the time that they considered running a study to see the effects of such decision while still some Mobile Network Operators (MNO) and NRAs were reluctant to promote this form of sharing.
January 2015 was the time that the research entity in charge of this study called around 100 individuals from all over Europe, from Regulators, MNOs, Policy Makers, Vendors and researchers to gather together and discuss views on this matter while promoting Network Sharing was an indirect item on the agenda.
While attending this worksop, I can not say that I was surprised when those who spoke very positive on this matter were mainly the ones who already either share or promote sharing, among NRAs and/or MNOs. But what surprised me was the outcome of a “game” that was played at the end of the workshop were people were asked to sit in groups, playing as hypothetical MNOs that are involved in a case of Network Sharing in an imaginary country. When people were thoroughly engaged in their roles, their hypothetical rivalry with their competitors somehow started blinding them and initially almost every group forgot all about the Socio-Economic benefits of Network Sharing, besides the NRAs. As a matter of fact, this might be the real reason that sharing seems to be still a dream. I believe that we still need to wait a little more and give some more time to MNOs and see what happens to them when the decreasing voice revenue plus lack of investments pressures their financials more.