Networks want to charge mobile content providers

Mobile phone operators are stepping up their campaign to charge Internet content providers for data traffic on their networks.

Franco Bernabè, chairman of the GSMA, the mobile operators’ representative body, told FT that there could be “no free lunch” for the content providers.

Network operators are hoping a mobile summit at the European Commission next month, involving telecoms companies as well as Apple, Facebook and Google will boost their efforts to charge providers for high-quality delivery of their material to end users.

Bernabè, who is also chief executive of Telecom Italia, highlighted how fixed-line and mobile operators were spending billions of euros upgrading their networks to cope with the rapid growth in internet video traffic.  He complained that content providers were “heavily using our networks but just don’t contribute to the development of our networks”.  He insisted that network operators respected the net neutrality principle, and said content would continue to flow freely over the basic internet.

However, Bernabè said operators should be able to tap a new source of revenue by charging content providers for high-quality delivery of their material to end users.

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