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Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the European telecoms sector can help improve broadband coverage across the continent, it has been claimed.

Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, said consolidation within the sector would be one way of creating a handful of strong cross-border telecom leaders, reports Reuters.

These larger firms may be better placed to invest in mobile and broadband networks to close the gap with the United States and Asia, she claimed.

Speaking at the Reuters Technology and Media Summit, Ms Kroes said Europe "needs to get back to the driver's seat of the digital society" - and M&As may be one way of achieving this goal.

She claimed that in the last ten years, the continent has been overtaken by other regions on both 3G and fixed broadband technology.

"Having a few pan-European operators that are strong in the cross-border market would not necessarily be bad for competition, Ms Kroes stated.

"It can make sense and be good for investment and innovation."

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