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Telcos call for big tech regulation

European Telcos calling for regulation against big tech

Top telecoms executives called for a total overhaul of Europe’s regulatory framework and reiterated their call for unified oversight across the 27-nation bloc, during their first post pandemic Mobile World Congress that takes place this week in Barcelona, Spain.

The European Commission has laid out a connectivity plan which by 2030 will cover all European households with a Gigabit network, and all populated areas with 5G, but big telcos executives are calling for more cooperation in order to succeed, including more regulation over big tech.

5G networks are supposed to be a new promised land for many industries – increasing to 165 networks in over 65 countries worldwide within just 3 years- with operators investing billions in licenses and network building; the telecom companies want to ensure the maximum return on their investment. According to the mobile communications industry body GSMA, the industry is expected to invest no less $900 billion within the next four years.

Telcos experienced 4G creating multi-billion dollar businesses ranging from music and video streaming to e-commerce and food delivery, but telecom operators were not the ones capitalizing on that growth, as much as the previous decade with the internet and mobile telephony boom – and they are not willing to repeat that mistake with 5G.

“The European regulatory framework is totally outdated,” Telefonica CEO Jose-Maria Alvarez-Pallete said during the conference’s opening speech. “Regulation today is based on the networks of the previous century.”

“We need to wake up,” said Hoettges. “We have to find a fair playing field in our industry, and we need great politicians who can set out with a vision for Europe.”

Hoettges has on several occasions called for a radical overhaul of the regulation of telecommunications companies in Europe, and a nuanced debate over the meaning of net neutrality when mission-critical services will demand priority over streaming video and audio content.

Global Mobile Economy Report 2021 reaffirms 5G momentum

The 2021 Report highlights the crucial role mobile technology will play as governments look to reinvigorate their economies and tackle societal challenges. It outlines a series of policy recommendations for shaping the post-pandemic digital economy, from direct stimulus funds and balancing policies for personal data to removing barriers to network deployment.

Key findings include:

  • By the end of 2025, 5G will account for just over a fifth of total mobile connections, and more than two in five people around the world will live within reach of a 5G network.
  • In 2021, 5G networks have been launched for the first time in IndonesiaKenya, and just this month, Tajikistan.
  • Although 4G has significant headroom for growth; Globally, 4G is expected to peak at just under 60% by 2023 as 5G begins to gain traction in new markets. In leading 5G markets such as ChinaSouth Korea, and the US, 4G has peaked and, in some cases, begun to decline.

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with almost 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.

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