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Facebook, Google and Apple win the pulse of the Government

The online giants will not pay the operator fee, an obligation that was initially contemplated in the draft of the General Telecommunications Law and that has now completely disappeared from the regulations approved yesterday by the Council of Ministers.

In this way, both Facebook (owner of WhatsApp) and Google (Hangouts), Microsoft (Teams) or Apple (Facetime), among other platforms, will avoid paying 1 per thousand of their gross operating income, something to which they will continue to be subjected traditional telecommunications operators such as Telefónica, Orange, Vodafone and MásMóvil, among many other companies registered in the general census of operators.

The American giants of the Internet have not needed or show their opposition to the Government to avoid possible taxes in Spain. Without mediating claims by these multinationals, the Executive itself has considered that the initial draft that contemplated the payment of the Operators Fee of these platforms would imply a regulatory overreach by the administration.

As has learned, these agents and platforms could generate legal problems if they were treated on equal terms with traditional telecos. Likewise, these companies already assumed that said Operators Fee would in no case imply costs for their organizations since communication and instant messaging services are always free of charge.

On the other hand, the General Telecommunications Law that now begins its parliamentary procedure, with the aim of its final approval during the first half of the year, transposes into the Spanish legal system the European directive of the European Parliament that establishes the European Code of Electronic Communications .

Among the great novelties of the regulations, the updating of the universal telecommunications service stands out, henceforth without the obligation on the part of the operators to finance public services such as telephone booths or subscriber telephone directories.

On the contrary, the new regulations oblige the provision of certain basic services, such as email, training tools, online banking and access to online news, social networks or instant messaging platforms. So far, no minimum speed has been set for connectivity services, an aspect that will be pending development in future regulations.

Get your prepaid balance back
The draft Telecommunications Law especially protects users, for example, with the ability to unblock the mobile card to facilitate the change of operator or preserve the prepaid balance when a user changes telecommunications service provider. Regarding emergency communications, the sectoral bill establishes improving emergency communications with free access to the 112 number with an inverse public alert system, so that the administration can transmit public alerts in cases of major catastrophes or imminent emergencies.

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