back to article 'We shall overcome' net neutrality, sing Euro telcos in the key of 5Gs

Europe's telcos have found a reason to shed any ambivalence they had about 5G, waking up with a shared vision that the technology can help them fend off Internet neutrality rules. Even better – for the telcos at least – they've found a willing ear in the person of European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society …

  1. Martijn Otto

    They're just worried about net neutrality rules preventing them from successfully sucking the customer dry. WIthout net neutrality companies (like netflix or spotify) will have to pay them which not only drives up their prices but also makes it harder for competitors to take off (they don't have the cash to buy off the telco cartels).

    Bad for consumers and bad for the market in general. Then again, we always knew these people were shady.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Bad for consumers and bad for the market in general. Then again, we always knew these people were shady."

      Thing is, telcos don't HAVE to invest. They could simply choose to stand pat with what they have if they fell they won't make money on the next generation. They're basically telling the government, "You can't FORCE us onto 5G. It's either on OUR terms or NOT AT ALL." And who knows, they may threaten to go nuclear if the government does try to impose a 5G mandate on them. "If you try to force 5G on us, we'll PULL OUT instead. NOW see what your customers think when they lose ALL their access."

      1. LDS Silver badge

        If one won't roll out 5G someone else will do. While I understand telcos have an issue because they may move pricier bits which makes someone else rich, it's not a "blackmail market" where the customer loses to much that will solve the problem.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Not if ALL of them realize the price is too high and engage in cartel behavior.

          1. joemostowey

            In The USA, Congress, and state legislatures have written multiple laws that actually prevent anyone else from intruding into the domain of the TELCOs.

            Local governments here cannot create a system that allows Co-Ops to provide Internet service.

            The statement that if the telco's don't roll out 5G someone else will, isn't true in the USA.

            Here, unless you have the vast amounts of money and power to take the Monopolists head on, it won't happen,

            Many Rural folks, myself included, living a mile or less from where cable stopped 20 years ago, will never have fiber, will never have high speed internet and rely of wireless at $10-$15 dollar a gig running at speeds of less than 1MPS.

            Writting to senators, congressclowns and local politicians produce nothing but laughter in the halls of government.

      2. David 138

        Good time to nationalise the network in the UK to one giant shared beast with 100% coverage. Screw the mobile operators and their lazy approach they already screw their customers on Data costs

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Since when has a government recently done ANYTHING right, let alone efficiently?

          1. Ragarath

            @Charles 9

            He did not say it had to be the government running it but that the network basically be separate from the mobile companies.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Thing is, telcos don't HAVE to invest.

        That is true. But they do all (believe they) HAVE to have more spectrum. It is easy enough for regulators to apply licence conditions to new spectrum to say the operators have to have certain defined 5G coverage and capabilities.

        [AC because my employer may not agree with my comments]

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Err the problem is slightly different.

      From the 5G Manifesto, it is clear their intention is to run a single physical network for all services which gives rise the problem:

      Automated driving, smart grid control, virtual reality and public safety services are examples of use cases with distinguished characteristics which call for a flexible and elastic configuration of resources in networks and platforms, on a continuous basis, depending on demand, context and the nature of the service.

      Put these services on to a physically different network and the net neutrality concerns raised in the Manifesto largely go away.

      From a UK perspective, it would seem the decision to shut down the Arqiva network (a physically separate network) and move blue light and other users onto the public access 3~5G networks, will give rise to similar net neutrality conundrums.

      The Manifesto can be accessed using this link:

      Additionally, there is a consultation that is open until July 11th - so if you didn't have anything planned this weekend :)

  2. P. Lee Silver badge

    We don't need no innovation

    We don't need Tel-co control

    No dark sarcasm from PR flacks

    Just a pipe, no tiered service

    Hey! Voda! leave our bits alone

    All in all we just want a r p u to fall

    No corruption, no back room agreements at all

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: We don't need no innovation

      "We don't need Tel-co control"

      You're gonna get it whether you like it or not. It's THEIR equipment. Unless you wanna start rolling your own.

      "Just a pipe, no tiered service"

      No chance. They'll pull out first. What's that saying? Better 10% of something than 100% of nothing.

      "No corruption, no back room agreements at all"

      Forget it. They're HUMANS.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: We don't need no innovation

        Not a single telco is ever going to pull out. Forget about it. They might threaten with it, but in the end they will want the revenue. And if they DO pull out, market forces will make another company stand up and fill in the gap. In the end with cartels like this it'll end up with all of them saying to the other guys: "We need to make good on our threats, you pull out first" in hopes of being the last one standing and taking all of the cake.

        This is a power play, and if this victory is given to the Telco's we can kiss goodbye to the roughly reasonable network pricing we have so far enjoyed in the EU (compared to the US anyway). And it will have a knock on effect on the cabled broadband/fiber market because all large internet providers are either owned by the large Telco moguls or in very very close alliance with them.

        We are getting forcefully bent over in preparation. Lets not let things go any further.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: We don't need no innovation

          UNLESS the whole business is a money sink (anyone that tries won't see a return on it), which is why they're not investing in it ALREADY.

  3. John Robson Silver badge


    Surely Net Neutrality....

    Is all about being allowed to prioritise a service - just not a specific provider...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Services...

      Gray area. What if they mesh together such that service and provider can't be reliably separated? For example, Netflix is BOTH a provider AND a service.

    2. Mellipop

      Re: Services...

      The problem about prioritising services is creating "fast lanes". The networks offer these and can route faster to any service that cuts them the best deal. So fast lanes go to big shiny web sites and make small competitors seem slow in comparison.

  4. Keab42

    Has Herr Oettinger dropped the H. ?

  5. nijam

    > ... permit traffic prioritisation for applications that need it, as long as regulators can be convinced it doesn't come at the cost of other users.

    Doesn't that mean - in effect - that if one client has higher priority, no other client has to have lower priority than that?

  6. Down not across Silver badge


    Maybe they should get 4G working properly before worrying about the next shiny thing.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: 5G

      It IS working properly. Problem is, it's also getting crowded. It's like demanding the M25 run better during commutes when the chief problem is sheer numbers of vehicles on it: like trying to cram 13 eggs into a carton only made for 12.

  7. Mellipop

    It'll all work out in the end

    The cost of entry for mobile phones went down. 5G allows the cost of entry for the network to drop, too. If anyone can plop a 5G base station anywhere as long as they can connect to the internet somehow, then MNOs might be defined by their customer service.

    We have internet (IETF) equivalents for most aspects of a mobile network offer, such as rating. Apple broke the anti WiFi cartel with iPhone because networks knew people preferred it to the cludgy smart phones with limited apps pre-iPhone.

    Once people discover they could go to any service provider and be directly billed, they will go to the MNO that gives them the best aggregate billing. It's a bit like what happened in the USA with deregulation and the baby Bells. Customers found they were being billed completely different tariffs and sometimes different bills.

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