The president of Telefónica, José María Álvarez Pallete, has affirmed that the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) “is already taking time” to promote the equalization of conditions between traditional operators with the new WhatsApp type. He was thus referring to the announcement made by the president of the regulator, Cani Fernández, that traditional telecommunications operators (such as Telefónica, Orange or Vodafone) and new ones, such as WhatsApp or Netflix, submit to “equivalent” regulations, so that “there is no discrimination” between one and the other.
“I am not asking you to regulate others; I ask that if they are not regulated and compete in the same way as me, that they deregulate me”, Pallete said, adding that, otherwise, “they are competing on unequal opportunities”.
The president of the operator starts “from the basis” that the “definition of the relevant markets is poorly done”, taking into account that Telefónica not only competes with Orange or with other operators, but also with the platforms of streaming, which, however, are not defined in the market shares that regulators take into account.
“The relevant markets are not well defined,” insisted Pallete, who is in favor of self-regulation. Pallete’s approach coincides with that held by the main telecoms of Europe (Telefónica, Orange, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom), which have recently urgently asked the EU to introduce rules that encourage digital platforms to contribute in a “proportionate” and “fair” way to network costs of telecommunications infrastructures, he pointed out at a breakfast organized by the CEDE Foundation (Spanish Confederation of Directors and Executives).
In his opinion, the regulation of the sector “is anchored in the last century” because it is designed for a physical world, and in this situation, Telefónica does not know who its competitors really are, since the large Internet platforms offer voice or television but it is not known “where they pay taxes or what their tax status is, if it is where they have the server that can put it in a tax haven or here because I am the one who generates the data”.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.