Coleago Consulting talks to FW:E about European data protection at MWC 2014

BARCELONA, Spain - Coleago Consulting continued the theme of personal data security during FierceWireless:Europe interviews at the Mobile World Congress trade show.

Stefan Zehle, chief executive of the consulting firm, said backing for home-grown European communications networks is increasing due to revelations of snooping by US and UK security services in 2013.

"[T]here is enormous political wind blowing in the direction of hosting platforms and services in Europe," Zehle said, noting that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one high-profile supporter of home grown networks.

However, Zehle said a European network would improve more than just data protection. 'Onshoring' networks in the region would also clarify tax situations, by effectively bringing a company's business in-house, he noted.

"A European regulatory seal is reassuring," Zehle added, noting that the region has rules to protect data privacy, while over-the-top (OTT) services may be hosted in countries and markets with less strict rules.

Operators can cash in on consumers' concerns about OTT services by providing their own services. Zehle pointed to BT Smart Talk, an application mimicking users' landline phones for outbound calls via Wi-Fi. "These services are hosted in Europe and are NSA snoop proof…It's a good hook for fixed operators…Most people already have a home telephone, so the billing relationship exists. That's a key advantage," he said.

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