Inconsistent 4G rollouts and fragmented smartphone ecosystems are damaging Europe's €6.1bn (£5bn) mobile app economy, according to the European Commission (EC).
A study commissioned by the EC has revealed there are a million developers employed in the app economy in the European Union (EU), with a further 800,000 in marketing and support roles. The study predicts that the total number of jobs in the sector will grow to 4.8 million by 2018, with the app economy generating €63bn for the EU economy.
However, the study warned that a lack of skilled workers, troublesome 4G mobile data rollouts and a fragmented mobile ecosystem could damage this growth.
Thirty-eight percent of developers said EU app development firms have trouble keeping up with US salaries in the sector, with 30 percent saying that startup workers lack business expertise.
A lack of compatibility between different platforms – such as Apple iOS and Google Android – made 35 percent of developers "frustrated".
Reflecting the EC's rhetoric about the inconsistent 4G mobile data rollout across Europe, a quarter of developers said they wanted this to happen quicker. EC vice president for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes used the study to spread the message once again.
"All apps and all mobile devices rely on broadband networks," she said. "Yet today, the framework for European telecoms is shattered and constrained. Meaning poor wireless connectivity, connections that can't easily cross borders, apps and services that are blocked or throttled by network operators, prohibitive surcharges to use your mobile abroad.
"In tomorrow's world – where even cars are connected, where we rely on mobile apps even for our healthcare – resolving them will be absolutely critical," she concluded.
Kroes and the EC have long made mobile data a key policy, aiming to put an end to roaming surcharges and chastising countries and mobile operators that have failed to roll out 4G fast enough.
High-tech businesses have also formed a key part of policy decisions, as the EC's Startup Manifesto aims to make Europe a tech powerhouse, with technology's business leaders given the opportunity to influence and assist with decision-making.
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