Smaller EU telcos warn that big tech network fees may hurt the market

Smaller EU telcos warn that big tech network fees may hurt the market

Several smaller telecom operators said that EU regulators’ plan to make big tech share the expenses of telecom networks may skew the market and undermine competition.

Large operators like Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Telefonica have complained for years about big tech using their networks for free. Their lobbying bore results when the European Commission said earlier this year that it would propose regulations requiring big tech to contribute to network expenses. According to MVNO Europe’s website, such efforts might do more harm than good.

MVNO Europe opposes European Commission

The telecom group highlighted the stakes involved in a statement. MVNO Europe says it is concerned that the proposed network investment contributions will substantially hurt competition in telecom markets, immediately impact mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), and eventually harm both consumers and business customers.

MVNO Europe includes Comcast’s TV company Sky, German operator Freenet and Poste Italiane affiliate PosteMobile. MVNOs do not own network infrastructure and instead rely on large operators to provide services to their consumers.

Market disruption

The organization said that the implementation of the proposals in law may result in disruption of present peering and transit markets, which are currently operating competitively on the foundation of well-established business practices. 

The statement also said that the plan may have the unintended consequence of having the biggest telecom carriers’ network services compensated not only twice (by users and content and application suppliers), but thrice (by other operators, who are already paying network access fees).

Digital rights advocates have also expressed concern about the threat to Europe’s net neutrality regulations, which protect an open internet.