Telefónica, Vodafone, Orange, and Deutsche Telekom demand a new regulatory scenario for the sector and a “new agreement” for Europe

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) also hosted this Monday the top managers of the mobile telephone operators Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Vodafone and Telefónica, who They demanded a new regulatory scenario for the sector and a “new agreement” for Europe that facilitates consolidation between operators, that establishes equity in the digital ecosystem with the technological giants and that ensures certainty about spectrum auctions.

We're driving change together, but it's not enough. Our customers and millions of European businesses depend on us, they need world-leading connectivity, innovation and a greater variety of services. We are ready to change and play our role,” explains Margherita Della Valle, CEO of Vodafone Group. Given these statements, the president of Telefónica, José María Álvarez-Pallete assures that telecos are the “last hope of Europe” and that they have to do their job, since “something is wrong” in the sector, and therefore, it must be solved.

For his part, Della Valle believes that telecoms need to do more and reach a new agreement, which is why he explained the changes that could make a difference at the European level. The first of them is the need to enable greater scale through consolidation in Europe. “I don't like the idea of ​​having a stronger competitor in Spain –referring to the merger of Orange and Más Móvil–, but then I will be forced to compete even better,” said José María Álvarez-Pallete.

Given this scenario, they have also emphasized that another of the changes to make a difference is adapt regulation to new market realities. “The regulation is obsolete, it predates the 21st century and if we are creating supercomputers, we need regulation” that addresses and keeps pace with these advances, maintains the president of Telefónica. In addition, he called for “total deregulation” so that telecom companies can compete by doing their job and “with the same obligations and the same rules” for everyone.

In this line, Ensuring equity in the digital ecosystem is necessary in Europe. The four telcos present at the conference explained that they are dealing with more than 100 different regulators, however, the situation has “different rules” for large technology companies. “The logic should be really simple in this digital age. Same services, same rules, regardless of who the provider is“says Della Valle.

For her part, Christel Heydemann, CEO of Orange, stated that Europe must improve the regulation of spectrum access and facilitate the competitive performance of companies, in addition to embracing responsible and efficient energy consumption of the networks. For the CEO of Deutsche Telekom, Timotheus Höttges, The sector “needs help” and agreed that the solution largely involves improving spectrum policy.