Vodafone Group called for the European Commission (EC) to take decisive action and implement a policy reboot to address challenges facing the telecoms sector, adding fuel to the ongoing fair share contribution debate.
The operator issued a statement in response to an EC consultation on the future of the connectivity sector, which launched in February with a deadline for responses of 19 May.
Its statement added to a joint announcement from the operator community compiled by lobbying groups the GSMA and ETNO, reiterating an imbalanced relationship between telecom providers and large traffic generators, and the need for urgent policy change.
In its own response to the consultation, rival industry group Berec sided with the technology sector, arguing against imposing regulation to help fund network investment.
Vodafone stated companies generating the most data traffic, excluding public broadcasters, should “make a proportionate contribution to the costs of the networks that carry it”.
It explained traffic on its network had grown 360 per cent between 2019 and 2022 alone, with nearly 50 per cent of this generated by four of the world’s largest digital content providers.
Going forward, Vodafone said “the situation is unsustainable”.
“Simply put, telcos want to continue investing in network upgrades for the benefit of Europeans, but cannot continue shouldering that cost alone,” it said.
In addition to the fair share debate, the company also addressed other policy areas, including moves to strengthen the EU single market, pushing in-market consolidation and efficient spectrum management.
“This is a critical point for the EU,” said Joakim Reiter, chief external and corporate affairs officer at Vodafone, highlighting the continent had already fallen behind on targets around 5G and digital.
“If the EU wants to move from words to actions, it must now show seriousness and resolve in delivering the urgent changes needed to protect and ensure Europe’s digital future.”