ETNO, a European telecoms lobbying organization, challenged Big Tech on Monday to help pay for the implementation of 5G and the internet, releasing statistics demonstrating that Europe lags behind the United States and Asia in 5G networks, cloud computing, investments, and income.

The comments by ETNO, whose members include Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, and Telecom Italia, come as the European Commission prepares a proposal on digital networks and infrastructure for February 21.

The EU telecommunications industry’s expectations of persuading Alphabet’s Google, Amazon, Netflix, Meta Platforms, and Microsoft to help pay for the implementation of 5G and broadband were thwarted last year when the Commission chose not to propose legislation in this regard, leaving it to the next team in 2025.

Despite a record 59.1 billion euros ($64 billion) in industry investments last year, just 10 of Europe’s 114 networks were 5G standalone, according to ETNO, citing a report commissioned by research company Analysys Mason.

According to the report, Europe had only four commercially available edge cloud options in 2023, compared to 17 in Asia-Pacific and nine in North America.

According to the research, this was owing to Europe’s lower telecom capital investment per capita and average revenue per user (ARPU) in 2022 compared to South Korea, the United States, and Japan.

The report reminded EU authorities of the Rights and Principles Declaration from 2022, which states that all market participants who profit from the digital economy should pay a ‘fair and proportionate contribution’ to digital network investment.

The debate will shape the longer-term strength of the European telecoms sector, as well as its overall investment capacity,” the authors of the research concluded.

The status quo – both in terms of investment and of policy – will not deliver the levels of innovation that are so desperately needed to sustain growth and deliver on the Open Strategic Autonomy,” Lise Fuhr, director general of the ETNO, stated.

Big Tech refers to the five most influential technological corporations. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are among the world’s leading technology companies.

The major technology corporations each dominate their respective categories. Amazon dominates e-commerce, Facebook continues to dominate social media, Google leads the search engine business, and Apple controls communication hardware. These IT titans wield so much power in their respective sectors because of their acute understanding of market demands and ability to develop goods that assure client pleasure.

Big tech businesses retain market capitalization, operate in several industries, and influence people across platforms. Each of the major technology corporations serves as a hub for many Internet services and activities.

These tech behemoths also understand how to expand into new and developing market niches. Facebook acquired Instagram and WhatsApp, bolstering its position in social networking. While Amazon dominates both e-commerce and streaming services, its physical presence has grown considerably since the acquisition of Whole Foods. 

Google’s offerings extend beyond search engines to include email services, video sharing, and other categories in which they are equally dominant. Google’s acquisition of Nest demonstrates the company’s growth in hardware and the smart home solutions market.