DT boss demands level playing field with OTTs - Mobile World Live

DT boss demands level playing field with OTTs

28 JUN 2021

LIVE FROM MWC21, BARCELONA: Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges (pictured) fumed about current regulations which fail to classify companies like WhatsApp and Microsoft as communications providers, arguing such OTT players generate the bulk of traffic on networks but pay nothing towards infrastructure and buildout costs.

Speaking in a keynote alongside counterparts from Orange and Telefonica, Hoettges asked conference goers if it was fair for WhatsApp to generate more value for parent Facebook’s businesses through increased data loads when network operators were left to pick up the bill.

“How can it be that 80 per cent of the traffic is generated by OTTs and they are not paying a cent for using the infrastructure or the buildout costs, in exchange for all the value of the data from our consumers,” he asked.

Hoettges further questioned why Microsoft was not treated as a communications platform by regulators, pointing out the company was “evolving its network and connecting edge networks with their fibre network to provide connectivity to customers”.

In an impassioned plea, he also called for a level playing field, with the need for “brave politicians to set out a vision for Europe”.

“If we don’t change the set up, Europe will fall further behind. There is the US with a single market, there is Asia and China which have very clear regulatory rules. We in Europe have 27 regulations with no clear rules about data governance, no clear rules about data privacy. Europe has to wake up and change the set up on how they want to drive digitalisation.”

2030 vision
In his separate keynote presentation, Hoettges urged the wider mobile industry to lay out a vision for the next decade following almost a year-and-a-half of playing a central role in dealing with the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, arguing new challenges will emerge as connectivity becomes “a basic human right” in 2030.

Hoettges said Deutsche Telekom was already well underway in laying out its 2030 vision, with work being done to evolve business models to be more software driven.

Predominately, Hoettges argued operators needed to change their mindset and not be so concerned with owning all parts of the network, but merely “orchestrate it in the right way”.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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