Vodafone chief executive warns against remonopolisation in Europe

29 November 2012 | Kavit Majithia

UK operator Vodafone has claimed national telecoms companies are aiming to re-establish traditional monopolies in Europe in a bid to restrict fair access to high-speed networks.

Vittorio Colao, chief executive at Vodafone told the Financial Times that Vodafone is likely to take legal action against any remonopolisation of the sector.

He believes former monopolies still own 60-70% of the fixed market, and his comments threaten to split the telecoms industry.

Telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes has set out plans to give large operators the freedom to charge for access to fibre networks, which is in sharp contrast on regulated pricing for copper networks.

Regulators opened the European market to competition two decades ago, and Colao said it was imperative that Vodafone had access to high-speed fixed networks to tap into bundling packages for mobile, TV and broadband as a single package.

Despite widespread commitments to FTTH and the development of national fibre markets, in Europe in particular it is only the large operators that have the resources to develop the technology.

Vodafone has already invested in a fibre network in Portugal, and confirmed intentions to acquire fixed line operators to gain additional access. The chief executive did warn that it would not commit to investment in fibre networks without guarantees that the company would not be restricted by regulated pricing.

Analysts warn, if other operators in Europe take the same approach, it will leave the continent behind developed markets like the US and Asia, where access to high-speed networks is commonplace.

Topics: Vodafone, UK, EUrope, networks, access