Telefonica CEO Calls for Regulation Overhaul in Europe

Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, Telefonica CEO, said it is critical that Europe introduced competition rules to strengthen the beleaguered telecoms sector. He has pointed out to the need to keep 5G spectrum prices in check and scrap mandatory wholesale terms.

Telefonica chief called on Europe’s regulators to be brave in the design of new rules for global digital players, while pointing to the need to relax those imposed on telecommunications companies to level the playing field. Alvarez-Pallete argued despite the critical role of connectivity during COVID-19 restrictions, revenue for companies in the telecommunications sector continued to decline, with stock market valuations of several players at its lowest.

“During the pandemic digital services increased exponentially, video calls and online streaming traffic have increased by seven times, but does anyone know what market share the providers of these services have? Does any regulator have authority over, or the power to request such information? Are those conversations stored? Under what kind of security controls?,” said Alvarez-Pallete.

After imposing regulations on digital players, the next priority should be deregulation of the telecommunications sector, said Alvarez-Pallete pointing to restrictively high 5G spectrum fees and wholesale agreements he deems unfair. He added there must be an end to the expropriation of new generation networks by imposing mandatory access to third parties at regulated prices. Those networks have been built in a competitive environment and on occasions with co-investment.

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