Network Operators are companies that build and deploy networks (including cable-based networks), maintain the network infrastructure, and provide services to customers.
Companies that build and deploy 3G, 4G, LTE, and 5G wireless networks are known as MNOs - Mobile Network Operators. They overlap with those network operators who also offer cable infrastructure and services.
In Europe, network operators employ around 600,000 people – from construction workers and network engineers placing cables underground and physically constructing the networks, to marketing employees and managers advertising and coordinating it all.
Network operators are both pushing 5G in the member states, and at the same time demanding subsidies to minimise their costs of its implementation due to the huge investments necessary. The EU itself invests in 5G through its multiannual research programme and investment funds and helps to share the burden with the network operators through public-private partnerships.
Synonyms: wireless service provider, wireless carrier, cellular company, mobile network carrier.