By Adria Calatayud

European telecommunications companies urged the European Union to overhaul the industry's regulatory framework and make big technology companies contribute to fund the costs of network infrastructure.

The chief executive officers of several of Europe's largest telecom companies called on EU policymakers to ensure what they called a fair contribution from tech companies to their networks in an open letter published Monday.

The letter was signed by the CEOs of 20 European telecom companies including Deutsche Telekom's Timotheus Hoettges, Orange's Christel Heydemann, Vodafone Group's Margherita Della Valle and Telefonica's Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete.

The European telecom industry isn't currently strong enough to meet new investment demands that the EU estimates amount to at least 174 billion euros ($183.96 billion) by 2030, given that many operators are barely covering their cost of capital, the letter said.

"Big tech companies pay today almost nothing for data transport in our networks, far from covering the costs needed to expand networks and achieve the ambitious EU targets," the letter said.

The European Commission, which earlier this year launched a consultation on the future of the telecom sector and its infrastructure, didn't respond to a request for comment on the letter.

Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for the internal market, said in a speech in February that content and application providers had been able to develop attractive products thanks to connectivity networks, which raised questions about the fair share of funding for the next generation of infrastructure.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association Europe, a trade group that represents tech companies, didn't respond to a request for comment. It has previously said introducing network-usage fees would lack justification and harm consumers.

Write to Adria Calatayud at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

10-02-23 1208ET