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Telco CEOs call for European regulatory reform

Jose-Maria Alvarez-Pallete

A number of top telco execs have called on the EU to overhaul its regulatory framework. 

Leading industry figures including Telefónica CEO Jose-Maria Alvarez-Pallete, and Deutsche Telekom boss Tim Hoettges used their speeches at the opening of MWC 2021 to highlight the need for regulatory reform. 

The Telefónica CEO Alvarez-Pallete specifically highlighted the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that “has been like travelling in a time machine five years ahead in terms of adoption of technology”. He said that while “When we were most needed, we were there,” innovation in tech such as edge computing, cloud, cybersecurity, IoT and big data is causing  Europe to “lag further behind in the global race for digital leadership.”

He concluded that “this is a political and a respectable goal that any European citizen or any European CEO will share.”

Deutsche Telekom’s Hoettges echoed this sentiment and argued that while telcos face 27 different sets of regulation across the region, companies like Facebook and Microsoft get free access to network infrastructure. 

He said: “We need to wake up. 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.”

Mobile communications industry body GSMA – which organises MWC – said that the telco industry will invest US$900 billion between now and 2025, with 80% of that total dedicated to 5G.