Mobile World Congress: Google tries to placate mobile operators

UK mobile network operator Vodafone has called for an end to Google's dominance of the internet search advertising market and accused the firm of wanting...

UK mobile network operator Vodafone has called for an end to Google's dominance of the internet search advertising market and accused the firm of wanting to reduce network operators to "dumb pipes".

In a speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao called on policymakers to consider whether action was needed to tackle Google's dominance.

He said policymakers should consider how to ensure consumer choice and avoid concentration of market power "before it is too late".

Colao also said Vodafone should have the right to charge content owners who want to distribute bandwidth-hungry material over its network, such as Google's YouTube video service.

Speaking later in the day in Barcelona, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt tried to present Google as a friend of network operators, according to the Financial Times.

Google depends on the successful businesses of the operators globally, said Schmidt, and is not trying to turn the operators into a dumb pipe.

"Quite the contrary. We need advanced, efficient networks," he said.

Schmidt also used the speech to quash speculation that Google plans to become a network operator after the company announced it is to run trials of ultra-high-speed broadband networks in the US.

The experimental high-speed networks will provide broadband connectivity at one gigabit per second - 100 times faster than current US broadband connections.

"Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make internet access better and faster for everyone," said Google product managers Minnie Ingersoll and James Kelly.

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