Meta and Vodafone are working together to free up capacity on eleven of its European mobile networks by optimising the delivery of short-form video without compromising the quality, the companies announced on Tuesday (9 July).

Vodafone and other telecom operators have long complained that they have to pick up the cost of upgrading networks while Big Tech companies get the benefits for free. 

The telecom companies claim that Big Tech should have to pay a portion of the network cost as they make up a massive part of the traffic. 

Vodafone said partnering with Meta was a “pragmatic way” to address the concerns around fair payment of 5G. 

“Meta’s willingness to optimise the delivery of video for its applications leads the way for a more efficient use of existing network resources,” said Alberto Ripepi, Chief Network Officer at Vodafone. 

“Vodafone and Meta have implemented these optimisations across Vodafone’s European markets and intend to continue collaborating to foster additional efficiencies,” he added. 

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EU efforts to require Big Tech to pay for 5G were shelved in 2023, with some sources telling Reuters that telecom companies may have to wait for the new European Commission to find out if rules will be proposed. The current Commission’s five-year term ends in November. 

Orange, Telecom Italia and Telefonica proposed in October that GoogleAmazonNetflix and Meta shoulder a portion of 5G rollout costs due to their high internet traffic, in what is termed ‘fair-share funding’.

Data from research and analysis company GlobalData found that by the end of 2023, mobile 5G subscriptions in Europe reached 216.4 million, or 15% of total mobile subscriptions.

By 2028, 5G subscriptions in Europe will account for 53% of total subscriptions.

GlobalData’s 5G Market Demand and Service Revenue Forecast found that by 2028, NA will achieve the highest adoption rate in terms of mobile 5G penetration of the population at 148.9% followed by Europe with 104.3%.