"But the CEOs believe they're being asked to do all the heavy lifting to fund and build that infrastructure, and with 5G builds ongoing and metaverses just around the corner they argue it's unfair to be asked to pay for it alone."
Except they don't. The telecom industry is indeed capital intensive but investments in networks are heavily subsidized and, not least, traffic on the network is already payed for by the consumers. If one looks at the situation in the US the pattern is quite clear. e.g. https://www.techdirt.com/2022/06/17/we-just-keep-throwing-billions-at-telecom-monopolies-in-exchange-for-half-completed-shitty-broadband-networks/
Taking one random petitioner (Deutsche Telekom https://www.telekom.com/en/investor-relations/publications/financial-results) one can see that these companies are doing just fine, so much so that in their financial result they say "Europe: ↗ growth continues unabated". Others which are not doing so well, e.g. Telenor have been involved in decades of "unlucky" business ventures, for Telenor in the East and far East, so hardly anyone else's fault.
Let's also not forget that telecom was a state run (EU) or backed (US) monopoly until the 1980s/1990s. History is not a Markovian chain, and such only apparently old tales have left plenty of "old habits" in place.