- Breton, head of EU industry, to speak on Monday
- Dutch government first to criticize plans to charge tech firms
- Big tech opposes EU proposal
- We will hold a new product presentation
BARCELONA (Reuters) – Clashes between big tech firms and European Union telecom firms over who will take over network infrastructure are set to dominate the debate at this week’s world’s largest telecommunications conference. ing.
Representatives of tech companies including Alphabet (GOOGL.O), Meta (META.O) and Netflix (NFLX.O) attending the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona said they would agree with the EU’s proposal. expected to oppose.
More than 80,000 people, including tech executives, innovators and regulators, attended this year’s event on Monday, which also put new product launches in the spotlight.
Last week, the EU’s head of industry, Thierry Breton, kicked off a 12-week consultation on a “fair share” proposal, in which big tech platforms would shoulder more of the cost of rolling out 5G and broadband across the block. bottom.
Bretton joined Orange (ORAN.PA) CEO Christel Heidemann and Telefónica (TEF.MC) CEO José María Alvarez Pallett at the opening event Monday morning. gave a speech at the panel discussion.
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“Now is the time for carriers and Big Tech to work together,” Alvarez-Pallete said at the conference.
“Working together means everyone contributes equally,” he said.
The Dutch government on Monday became the first EU government to criticize Bretton’s plans, warning against imposing internet tolls on tech companies.
Such a move would violate net neutrality rules and could lead to higher prices for Europeans, he said.
Content providers like Netflix, whose CEO Greg Peters arranged to meet Breton at a conference, claim their companies have already invested heavily in infrastructure.
They say paying extra costs undermines investment in products that benefit consumers.
In contrast, Deutsche Telekom (DTEGn.DE), Orange (ORAN.PA), Telefónica (TEF.MC) and Telecom Italia (TLIT.MI) are aggressively pushing big tech companies to pay fees.
The GSMA, the association representing more than 750 mobile operators and the entity behind MWC, is at the forefront of the debate.
GSMA Chief Regulatory Officer John Giusti said:
Critics of the fair share or “SPNP” (Sending Party Network Pays) model said the so-called “transport tax” could allow content-driven platforms to route their services through ISPs (Internet Service Providers) outside the EU. I warn you.
Orange told Reuters the telecom industry wasn’t looking for special privileges in its request. A spokeswoman said the EU talks were a “positive first sign” that discussions would begin.
“We advocate a framework that promotes fair and equitable commercial relationships that recognizes the direct contribution of technology giants to network costs,” they said.
But implementing and enforcing the regulations will be difficult, said Shahid Ahmed, NTT’s executive vice president and adviser to the US Federal Communications Commission.
“I’ve seen something very similar, the whole net neutrality debate, attempted in the United States,” he said.
New products will also be announced at MWC starting Monday from companies such as HMD Global, Honor, Huawei (HWT.UL), RealMe and Xiaomi (1810.HK).
Other hot topics include 5G adoption rates that have disappointed some executives, and potential uses for generative AI systems such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
“Everything on the MWC floor is futuristic,” says Guisti.
Reported by Supantha Mukherjee, Martin Coulter, and Joan Faus.Edited by Alexander Smith and Jason Neely
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