5G will increase data network speed, but could give telcos more control over the whole network
20 of Europe's largest telecom providers, or telcos, have released a document outlining their plans for the next generation of the wireless data network.
Called the 5G Manifesto, it tells EU regulators what companies like BT, Vodafone, and Deutsche Telekom want in exchange for introducing the 5G network.
The telcos want lighter regulation coming from the EU, meaning less net neutrality in place.
Net neutrality ensures that all services and websites online are treated fairly by internet providers without any preferential treatment or restrictions in place.
Telcos and internet providers have complained about net neutrality, saying it can really throttle and bring down their networks.
Streaming video such as from YouTube or Netflix, especially around peak use times, is always given as an example of when some restrictions or throttling should be in place unless those companies pay for proper access to the providers network.
The providers are worried that net neutrality regulations will stifle the newly introduced high-speed, high-capacity 5G network. They believe a lighter grip from regulation will allow 5G to foster innovation.
In the manifesto, telcos say that 5G investments "are therefore likely to be delayed unless regulators take a positive stance on innovation and stick to it."
It's a very threatening stance for the telcos to take. Europe's data network is in need of a move to 5G, to loosen up available network space and increase speeds to be much faster than that available in the US or Asia.
With the telcos now holding the knife to Europe, it's up to the EU to respond. The European Commission's digital representative, Gunther Oettinger, has opposed net neutrality for a long time and is a supporter of the manifesto, meaning this could be the start of big changes to European telecommunications.