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The European Commission says that the EU must improve its commitment to R&D as well as strengthen its patent laws to foster a competitive mobile data sector. A European Commission communication, entitled "Mobile Broadband Services," outlines the challenges the Commission has identified in this area, including the inter-operability of devices and the requirement for patent protections, particularly for content services with a high added value. It said that these challenges require targeted R&D, both in terms of basic research and accelerated technical innovation.

The Commission envisages the expansion of m-commerce to the point where mobile users will be able to shop and pay on-line and receive a whole range of audio-visual services such as music and video. It also anticipates that mobile data capabilities will allow for a mobile workforce that can easily exchange large amounts of data with its own headquarters to improve working processes and improve efficiency.

"Anywhere, any time availability will be essential to a European information economy where the mobility of people, goods and services is increasing," said Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner Erkki Liikanen. "All stakeholders, including member states, need to address these issues together, to ensure that Europe does not miss out on the benefits that mobile broadband services can bring."

However, the commission points out that the share of GDP that Europe spends on R&D lags well behind that of its main trading partners and said that an R&D agenda is needed to support innovation, including basic research.

It also said that industry needs to take urgent steps to improve the interoperability of mobile broadband services, so as to facilitate communication and the supply of services on different networks.

In terms of value-added content, it said that the regulatory framework for intellectual property rights should be implemented to foster the creation of high value-added content. Finally it suggested European-wide regulations and guidelines in the areas of e-money, mobile mast policy and spectrum management policy.

© ENN

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