Big Tech costs spat stirs Barcelona mobile meet

STORY: Who pays for Europe's expensive network infrastructure?

It is a question due to dominate the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which kicked off Monday (February 27).

Last week, the EU launched a 12-week consultation on its so-called 'fair share proposals'.

That would see Big Tech platforms take on more costs to roll out 5G networks and broadband connections across the bloc.

Major EU telecoms firms like Deutsche Telekom and Orange want content-providers like Meta and Netflix to contribute more.

But those firms are expected to push back at the world's largest telecoms conference.

They argue they already invest heavily in infrastructure.

Critics also argue what they call a 'traffic tax' could lead content-driven platforms to route their services with providers outside of the EU.

There are other hot topics in Barcelona.

AI systems like ChatGPT, and 5G technology are likely to drive conversation.

John Hoffman is CEO of GSMA - a group that represents more than 750 mobile operators.

“Well, 5G is probably front and centre. I think we're going to probably have a lot of discussion about the road map. So where do we go post 5G? What does 5G really look like? And and how does it morph into big business, small business and consumers?"

Attendees could hear a lot of debate, but they may also see new product launches.

Huawei and Xiaomi are just two mobile giants expected to reveal their latest offerings.