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MWC 2023 kicks off this week: Whether tech giants should bear the cost of the network is at the center of debate

via:网易科技     time:2023/2/27 11:07:56     readed:98

On February 27, the 2023 Mobile World Congress (MWC) will be heldIt starts this week in Barcelona. At that time,Who should bear more of the cost of operating network infrastructureWill dominate discussions between big tech companies and EU telecoms firms.

It was held in Barcelona from February 27 to March 2The MWC will attract more than 80,000 participants, including top tech executives, innovators and regulators.

Thierry Breton, the EU's industry chief, launched a 12-week consultation on the "equitable sharing" proposal last Thursday. Under the proposal, big tech platforms would have to bear more of the cost of operating their network infrastructure, in the form of "traffic fees" paid to telecom network operators.

Representatives of tech companies such as Google parent Alphabet, social media parent Meta and streaming service Netflix will all use the MWC as an opportunity to oppose the EU proposal.

Content providers like Netflix have arranged for Greg Peters, the company's chief executive, to meet with Mr. Breton at the show. They think the company has invested a lot in infrastructure.

Tech companies, including Netflix, said,Paying extra will reduce industry investment in products that benefit consumers

By contrast, EU telecom operators such as Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Telecom Italia have been actively lobbying big tech companies to pay.

The Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), the organisation behind the MWC and representing more than 750 mobile operators, has been at the forefront of the debate.

John Giusti, chief regulatory officer of the GSMA, said: "The discussion around 'equitable sharing' or what we sometimes call the 'investment gap' will be a gateway issue."

Critics of the "equitable sharing" proposal, or the "sender pays network" (SPNP) model, have warned that a so-called "traffic tax" could lead to content-driven platforms offering their services to users via Internet service providers outside the EU.

Orange says the industry is not seeking special interests. A spokesman said,The EU consultations are the "first positive sign" of starting to discuss the issue

"We advocate a framework that promotes fair and equal commercial relations and recognizes the direct impact of big Tech on network cost increases," the operators said.

But Shahid Ahmed, executive vice president of NTT and an adviser to the FCC, said the rules are difficult to implement and enforce. "We've seen similar discussions tried in the U.S. market," he said.

At this year's MWC, many manufacturers will unveil new products. Other hot topics at the show included less-than-anticipated 5G adoption rates and potential uses for generative AI systems like OpenAI's ChatGPT.

"The MWC is all about looking to the future," Giusti said.

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