Tech firms should pay for 5G and broadband access: GSMA

Lobbying groups GSMA and ETNO want technology companies, which account for more than 5 percent of a telecoms provider’s peak average internet traffic, should help pay for the rollout of 5G and broadband across Europe.
Mobile network data traffic forecast reportGSMA and ETNO have prepared their demands as part of feedback to the European Commission which launched a consultation into the issue in February. The deadline for responses is Friday, Reuters news report said.

Some of the telecom operator members of GSMA include Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Telecom Italia and Vodafone.

Deutsche Telekom, one of the leading operators in Europe, last week said it invested 4.8 billion euros  (+2.2 percent) in terms of cash capex, excluding expenses for mobile spectrum in the first three months of 2023.

Vodafone said it has 24.7 million broadband customers in Europe in January-March 2023 against 25.6 million in January-March 2022.

Vodafone has expanded its 5G coverage to 332 cities across Europe as against 294 cities in January-March 2022.

Meta Platforms, which has Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. had 2.99 billion users on its platform as of March 31, 2023. Meta Platforms has reported revenue of $28.65 billion and net income of $5.709 billion during January-March 2023.

Telecom operators cannot target this kind of profit from its business though they support the growth of tech firms such as Meta Platforms and Google.

Telecom operators have lobbied for years for leading technology companies to contribute to funding 5G and broadband roll-out, saying that they use a huge part of the region’s internet traffic.

Alphabet’s Google, Apple, Meta, Netflix, Amazon and Microsoft account for more than half of data internet traffic.

“We propose a clear threshold to ensure that only large traffic generators, who impact substantially on operators’ networks, fall within the scope,” GSMA said.

“Large traffic generators would only be those companies that account for more than 5 percent of an operator’s yearly average busy hour traffic measured at the individual network level,” the draft said.