The European Commission would like to see a more digital Europe and more telecoms network investment, but the term “level playing field” sends mixed messages. For some it means more regulation of internet services, potentially killing demand for enhanced networks — and thereby killing the goose that laid the golden egg.
Some telecoms network operators have argued that over-the-top services have undermined service revenues, jeopardised investment and play by unfair rules. Other operators see it differently, welcoming increased demand for network access. For example, the chief executive of UK mobile operator EE has said the growth of mobile-messaging services like WhatsApp isn’t a threat as the sector’s growth is driven by data-hungry consumers.
Put simply, is demand good or bad, and should we regulate more or less in response to competition from over-the-top services?