Google has warned that mobile operators are being 'regulated to death' as government influence on the industry continues to be a theme of Mobile World Congress.
In a keynote speech in Barcelona, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said regulation was hindering investment in building better networks. He said: 'It is very difficult to be a telecoms operator right now. You've got the reality that you have to upgrade your equipment to 4G and you have customers who are busy using enormous amounts of the bandwidth that is so scarce for you, and governments, in addition to regulating you to death, are charging huge fees for new bandwidth.'
Schmidt also talked of the shrinking price of devices, dubbing next year's $100 phone this year's $400 device. He said: 'Many people are working on [smartphones] in the $100 to $150 range. When you get to the $70 point you get to a huge new market.'
However, he said the growth of the mobile industry relied on the governments and operators overcoming their differences. He said: 'The operators and regulators have got to sit down and come to some kind of rational collaboration. We at Google are critically dependent on this infrastructure building out.'
His comments follow a row between European Union digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes and Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao earlier in the week. Kroes attacked comments by Colao in which he called for lighter regulation. Colao said: 'We should stop having this continuous intervention on prices and let the industry reinvest the money.'