Monday, 31 January 2011

Greek NRA adopts model on price control for WBA

The Greek NRA has adopted its model for effecting the price control imposed on OTE as regards the segment between WLA and WBA. In a previous post, the Commission's doubts on the model were mentioned.

Greek NRA approves incumbent's pricing of the electricity used in its facilities

EETT approved OTE's propiosed pricing of the electricity used in its facilities when they are used by competitive operators (see the decision, in greek).

Court Week

For this week, we will have the opinion in Football Association Premier League and Others which involves the conditional access directive and copyright issues and secondly we will have the judgment in Commision v France concerning non-compliance with the INSPIRE (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community) Directive.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Commission's Art. 7 Communication to the Greek NRA on the review of retail telephone services markets

EETT in its 2nd review, has identified OTE as an operator with SMP in the local and national telephone services market as well as the call services to non-geographic numbers market. Even though these markets were withdrawn from the 2007 Recommendation, EETT maintains that the three-criteria test is met and thus ex-ante regulation is necessary. On the other hand, the Commission even though not challenging the NRA's results, urges EETT to ensure OTE's full compliance with its wholesale remedies, the review of the market as soon as effective competition develops and requests EETT to "to further justify on a forward looking basis whether the current remedies proposed, in particular price control, are proportionate in relation to the nature of the problem identified" (see the decision).

Maltese NRA issues 2011 Annual Plan and 2011-2013 Strategic Plan

MCA focuses for 2011, on NGNs deployment which inculdes the finalisation of the framework for the refarming process in 900/1800 MHz and aims at surveiling the Digital Switch-Over (see the 2001 Annual Plan and the 2011-2013 Strategic Plan).

Everything Everywhere and BT's dispute over termination charges in 03 numbers ended by OFCOM

Ofcom resolved the dispute under section 185 of the Communications Act 2003 between EE and BT concerning the termination rate payable by EE to BT for calls to 03 numbers that originate on EE’s mobile network and terminate on BT’s fixed network (see the notice of update).

Regulating the fibre loop ex post - a kind suggestion by the German NRA

Well it is rather a concrete intention, expressed by the German NRA to regulate the fibre last mile only ex post (see the press release). It will be interesting to see the Commission's reaction taking into account the precedent between these two. According to the NRA, the economic conditions in Gerrmany are such, that will deter DT to set excessive prices.

New MVNO in the French market

The French Competition Authority, authorised the creation of La Poste Telecom, an MVNO which will absorb SFR's debitel and will be controlled jointly by SFR and La Poste (see press release in french).

Thursday, 27 January 2011

French NRAs consultation and guidelines on 900/1800 MHz refarming concerning overseas territories

The consultation launched by ARCEP was concluded and the Authority has made public the document incorporating the suggestions by all institutions and undertakings (see the press release and the document with the consultation's results, in french). From now on UMTS will be available in the 900/1800 MHz (see the press release and the guidelines, in french).

NB: My apologies for referring initially to the consultation as if it concerned the French mainland.

The European Commission clears McAfee's acquisition by Intel with concesions

The Commission cleared the acquisition of McAfee by Intel. However, concessions had to be made by Intel and the major one was the assurance that Intel's chips and chipsets will be interoperable with any thrid-party antivirus programme (see the press release).

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

French NRA submits its analysis on markets 4 and 5 to the French Competition Authority

ARCEP, has submitted to the French Competition Authority seeking its opinion, its draft market analysis on markets 4 (wholesale unbundled access to physical network infrastructure,- in french -) and 5 (wholesale broadband and ultra-fast, or bitstream, access,- in french -) along with a draft recommendation (in french) on the implementation of a scheme for increasing bandwidth by providing access to France Telecom's local sub-loop (see the press release).

France Telecom's wholesale tariffs decrease

ARCEP, the French NRA, stated that there is a decrease in FT's wholesale prices to be charged under the new Reference Offers that FT has issued for 2011.

FTC increases merger thresholds

The US Federal Trade Commission announced amongst others the increase of the threshold for the reporting of a merger from $63.4 million to $66.0 million (see the press release and the text with the various thresholds).

Anti-dumping duty to Chinese WWAN modems

The European Commission ceased the process of evaluating whether dumping was taking place on Chinese behalf to favour Chinese WWAN modems, after Belgium withdrew its request for the adoption of anti-dumping measures. (see the press release and an older post referring to the initiation of the procedure in June 2010).

Monday, 24 January 2011

Irish regulators's guidelines on Premium Rate Services

ComReg has issued its guidelines and respective application form for Premium Rate Services License.

The European Commission opens investigation against Telefonica and Portugal Telecom

The Commission launched its investigation, suspecting that the two companies have concluded a non-compete agreement regarding their homemarkets. More specifically, the two companies have allegedly came to such an arrangement, after Telefonica bought PT's shares in Brasilcel which owns the biggest brazilian mobile operator, Vivo, by 60/%. It is thus to the Commission's belief, that the deal entailed a non-compete clause (see the press release).

Friday, 21 January 2011

Greek NRAs cost model regarding WBA-LLU published in the National Gazette

EETT's new cost model to be used in the WBA_LLU price control has been published in the National Gazette (EETT's decision, in greek). It has been mentioned in a previous post that the Commission in its Art. 7 Comments expressed doubts as to the certainty on the model due to the alleged vagueness of the parameters.

Verizon challenges FCC's recently adopted Net Neutrality Order

Verizon has filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal for the district of Columbia Circuit. The ground for this appeal is of course the allegedly excess of FCC's competence on matters relating to the regulation of the internet (see the press release).

Consultation on the development of over 8Mbit/s broadband connections in Greek rural areas

The Greek Secretariat for the Digital Plan has given to public its consultation on the developmet of broadband in Greece's "white" areas. The aim is 8Mbit/s broadband connections in rural areas. The ultimate goal is Greece's full broadband coverage by 2013 (see the document of the consultation and annexes I, II and III, all in greek).

Irish NRAs consultation on Decision 2008/411

ComReg has issued the final paper on the consultation concerning the implementation of the Decision 2008/411 concerning the provision of wireless broadband services in the bands of 3,6 and 3,8 GHz. ComReg will create a new Broadbzand Wireless Access Local Area(BWALA) licensing scheme, will align respectively its Fixed Wireless Access Local Area (FWALA) scheme and will accordingly provide for a scheme for the collection of fees (see ComReg's paper).

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Italian NRA issues a guide for consumers' rights

AGCOM has published a wonderful and certainly useful guide on consumers' rights arising in the provision of electronic communications services.

Google steps up against the Spanish Data Protection Authority

While the Spanish Authority directs Google to delete all out-of-date and inaccurate information concerning individuals, as a means to respect the "right to be forgotten", Google claims it is the medium for the info to be disposed, repelling the Authorities directions (see bbc.co.uk).

Greek NRA's plan for 2011

EETT plans on completing the 3rd round fo market reviews with a close eye especially on wholesale broadband access. In that regard it expects to have the incumbent's Reference Unbundling and Broadband Offer respectively updated. The NRA will moreover seek to decrease termination prices and will monitor and review OTE's products (see EETT's plan and the press release in greek).

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Greek regulator modifies incumbent's Reference Offer for wholesale leased lines

EETT has altered OTE's Reference Offer for wholesale leased lines by stating that whenever a modification or starting from scratch of an IT system is deemed necessary, OTE will have a 6 months time margin to have it in place (see EETT's decision in greek).

Monitoring wholesale broadband market's prices, top priority for the Finnish regulator

FICORA, denotes in its press release that it will keep track of the prices in the wholesale broadband market with the view of engaging to a new market analysis of the local loop market in 2011. In 2010, FICORA forced five operators to cut down their prices.

Portuguese NRA enables MCV services

ANACOM, approved the final decision which prescribes the process by which Mobile Communications on board Vessels (MCV services) will be delivered to consumers (see ANACOM's press release). The 900/1800 MHz bands will be available and a General Authorisation regime will be in place. As far as the radio equipment is concerned, a suspension of required licenses was opted for, without prejudice to the provisions of the maritime radio equpment licensing regime. Other aspects, like usage fees are provided.

Spanish Competition Authority moves against Telefonica, Orange and Vodafone for excessive pricing in SMS, MMS

CNC has instigated proceedings against the three mobile operators for charging excessive prices in the wholesale origination and termination as far as short SMS and MMS are concerned (see CNC's press release).

Italian Competition Authority closes antitrust proceedings against Google

Since Google committed to keep editors' search results in its search engine untouched after they have voluntarily withdrawed form Google's News service, AGCM, the Italian NCA decided to withdraw the allegations for abuse of its dominant position (see AGCM's press release, in italian).

FCC and DOJ endorse Comcast-GE-NBC Universal transaction

The FCC has approved the assignment and transfer of control of GE's broadcast, sattelite and radio licenses to Comcast that will enable the creation fo a joint venture with NBCU. The deal was cleared with concessions (see the FCC's order) given by Comcat-NBCU. A must carry oligation on a fair market value and non-discriminatory price is imposed along with a form of must-offer obligations. For more details on the Comcast-NBUC undertakings see the FCC's press release. You may also view the statement of the Assitant Attorney General of the DOJ who congratulates the FCC, since the undertakings provided in its order, absolve the DOJ from setting additional concessions for the JV to be approved. The DOJ in the same line with the FCC delivered its proposed undertakings in the proposed Final Judgment.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Belgian Supreme Administrative Court confirms regulatory authorities' independence

The Belgian Court de Counseil, reinstated the independence that the regulatory authorities enjoy, and this not being contrary to the Constitution (see Belgian Supreme Audiovisual Council's post).

Bulgaria to retsirct SIM cards a person can hold

According to sources (see sofiaecho.com), Bulgaria is planning to restrict the number of SIM cards a person may hold to the number of three. This measure will work in conjunction with the obligatory registration of prepaid cards holders.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Belgian NRA withdraws transit services from being regulated

Since the 2007 Recommendation did not include transit services, BIPT felt urged to review the market and found that it did not qualify the three-criteria test and thus withdrawed ex-ante regulation from teh transit services market (see BIPT's draft decision, not likely to be objected by the Commission).

The Romanian NRA proposes a cut of 15% on spectrum fees

ANCOM is of the view that a cut of 15% in spectrum fees should take place in view of the negative economic climate that operators face (see the press release). ANCOM proposes as well that operators should pay the fees in the end of the period that they used the spectrum they had been awarded.

Art. 7 Comments to the Italian NRA on its review of the broadcasting transmission services market

The Commission had no comments to make, in its Decision, addressed to AGCOM, whereby the latter even though it found that the second criterion of the three-criteria test was not met as far as the national terrestrial TV market is concerned (analogue and digital were put in the same market), it decided to maintain the obligations given in its previous market review so that operators have the time to adjust to the digital switch-over to take in place on 31 December 2012.

Art. 7 Comments to Romanian NRA on market review of wholesale terminating segments of leased lines

ANCOM has divided the market in two product markets; high (above 2Mbit/s) and low (below 2Mbit/s) bandwith. As far as the high bandwith is concerned, ANCOM found that the three criteria test was not met and thus since the market was effectively competitive no regulation should be set. On the other hand, the low bandwith qualified the test and RomTelecom was imposed with a set of obligations. The Commission, in its Decision, had no comments to make.

Art. 7 Comments to Slovenian NRA on its market review of the wholesale physical network and broadband access

The Commission stresses in its Decision directed to APEK, that the non-inclusion of T2's (an alternative operator that has developed a fibre network but with very low coverage) fibre netork in the definition of the WBA market necessitates in any case monitoring. The Commission also disagrees with the retail minus methodology proposed for the WBA market but will not put a "veto" since it shares APEK's finding of retail pricing constraints on the SMP operator stemming from cable operators, local loop unbundlers and T-2's fibre optical connections.

Art. 7 Comments to Polish NRA's proposed methodologies on price control in wholesale fixed access

UKE proposed to adopt a series of methods in order to engage into the price control obligation that the Polish incumbent is imposed with. The Commission, in its Decision, stresses that UKE, not being precise with the exact method to be adopted, deters regulatory certainty on the final price that the Polish incumbent will charge. The Commission, also notes that UKE did not implement the LRIC model adopted in the previous market review and moreover, by signing an agreement with the Polish incumbent on the prices that the latter will charge till December 2012, the EU regulatory framework is beeing possibly violated, since the price control mecchanism is and will in effect be inactive.

Art. 7 Comments to Polish NRA's proposed decision to set assymetric MTR in favour of new entrants

UKE decided to impose assymetric Mobile Termination Rates so that new entrants may adopt higher prices instead of the pre-existing undertakings in the market which shall comply with cost-oriented prices. More specifically the four new Polish entrants are imposed amongst other with the price control obligation not to charge excessive prices. The Commission urged UKE to re-consider its approach, even though sharing its thinking to assist the new entrants, and to set cost-oriented prices on the basis of P4's costs which is an undertaking which entered the market before the four new entrants but after the three pre-exisiting dominant undertakings. The Commission moreover, advised UKE to prescribe in its current market review of the mobile termination market, to set a specific glide path, and preferrably tha of four years, whereby all operator will have to comply with the same cost-oriented prices (see the Commission Decision).

Friday, 14 January 2011

900 and 1800 MHz assignment in Malta - applicants

Melita Mobile Limited, Mobisle Communications Limited and Vodafone Malta Limited have filed an application for the assignment of the 900/1800 MHz in Malta (see press release). The Maltese NRA, MCA, made a call for applications (see press release) for the assignment of the abovementioned bands which will be freed to other technologies apart from GSM.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

OFCOM set to investigate the international calling industry

The UK NRA, after investigating Lycatel and forcing it to abandon its post call fee and meeting several requirements to ensure material information (see press release), it has decided to launch a wide investigation on the international call industry focusing in particular on the advertising practices in place which may mislead consumers (see press release).

Draft Greek Law on Data Retention

The draft of the Law which will implement the Data Retention Directive was submitted to the Parliament (see also the Preamble here). After the Parliament scrutinises the draft it will be adopted. The draft law besides implementing the Data Retention Directive it brings also some minor amendments to the laws trasposing the ePrivacy and the Data Protection Directives. As far as the debated issue on the time limit under which the providers will have to keep the data, the draft is setting that of one year.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

No interest expressed for Irish Mobile TV services in 8MHz

Ultimately, no interest was expressed for the 8MHz frequency in Ireland for the provision of Mobile TV services in the areas of Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford (see ComReg's press release).

Friday, 7 January 2011

Maltese NRA's amendment of the dispute guidelines

MCA is going to amend to a small extent its guidelines on disputes and inter-operator complaints, seeking to address mainly issues that concern the submission of disputes belatedly (see press release).

OFCOM's draft annual plan

OFCOM has made public its draft annual plan 2011/12. The major challenges ahead are the surveillance on the ngns roll out and on the virtual unbundling obligation on bt, the spectrum auction, ensuring competition in pay tv services (see the previous posts on the must-offer obligation imposed on Sky) and the spectrum auction in 600/800/2600 MHz.

OFCOM permits 3g services in bands used for 2g

OFCOM has decided to let operators deliver 3g services through the bands that have been used till now for the provision of 2g services (see press release).

BT penetrating the net neutrality consesus

It has been my perception that on the net neutrality issue as far as the EU is concerned, we were seeing all parties interested in a standstill position. Well my perception was wrong and a big player of the european market is set to accelerate developments. BT is testing the authorities level of alert (see also the BBC) and launches its content connect service whereby ISPs may charge content providers for velivering video content in higher speeds through BT's network (see BT's page).

WP 29 Opinion on the law applicable to data processing

The Working Party has issued its Opinion on the difficulties when attempting to find the law applicable in relation to data processing.

OFCOM to permit product placement

The UK regulator has concurred to the making lawfull of product placement in TV and Radio programmes.

CB's licenses now to be given by Greek Perfectures

In a letter (in greek) of the Ministry of Infrastructure, a notice is given to the Greek Perfectures that from now on they wil be the ones responsible for issuing licenses to CB networks. This is the outcome of the new law transforming the administrative organisation of the country whereby the Perfectures are gaining significant competences (and thus responsibilities and power).

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

OFCOM obliges Sky to offer to TUTV Sky Sports 1 and 2 via CAM

The dispute sits on top of the questionned must-offer obligation imposed on Sky (you may find previous posts on this matter). TUTV requested the two channels but Sky denied stating that to be offered via CAM equals to simple reselling them. OFCOM however ruled that the must-offer obligation encompasses the offer of these channels via CAM and that Sky could simply proceed to further security restrictions.

Vodafone Malta requests assignment of frequencies for fixed radio links

Vodafone Malta has requested from the Maltese NRA, MCA, the frequencies of 7484 - 7512 MHz / 7638 - 7666 MHz (channel 3) and those of 7512 - 7540 MHz / 7666 - 7694 MHz (channel 4) for fixed radio links. If no tenable objections are submitted by 14 January 2011 the frequencies will be assigned (see the press release).

TKK rejects A1 Telekom Austria's contractual offer on virtual unbundling

The judicial arm of the Austrian NRA (RTR), TKK, came to the conclusion that A1 Telekom's contractual offer did not meet the requirements set out by TKK's decision by which it imposed the obligation of virtual unbundling in relation to NGN's. TKK instructed the incumbent to publish a standard contractual offer by mid-January 2011 which will comply with the regulatory requirements (see press release).

Lifting the barriers in 900/1800 MHz in Greece

Further to the Greek NRAs press release on its intent to assign consultants on the freeing technologically the 900/1800 Mhz, EETT has given the document (in greek) of the consultation regarding the lifting of barriers in the 900/1800 MHz. Following the amended GSM Directive, there is a technologically neutral approach and thus GSM will no longer be the only option in these bands. In fact EETT advances UMTS 900 so that 3G services may be deployed through the 900 MHz. Vodafone holds 2X5 with expiry in 2016 and 2X10 with expiry in 2012, while Wind holds 2X10 with expiry in 2012 in the 900 MHz. Cosmote on the other hand holds 1X5 with expiry in 2017 in the 900 MHz and EETT denotes that there could be a problem with Cosmote's small piece. The proposal is to get a 2X5 that the Ministry of Defence holds in the 900 MHz. Lastly, EETT proposes the form of an open competition rejecting the idea of a "beauty contest". The consultation will last till 4 February and the idea is to have everything in place by 2011 so that the competition may take place in 2012 when the 2X20 blocks will be in expiry.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Greek NRA's decision on the incumbent's double play programmes

It is now accessible in the National Gazette, EETT's decision scrutinising some of OTE's double play offers. Out of 8 offers in the "Conn-X for employees" (designed for businesses that wanted to offer double-play services to their employees), two were deemed to contribute to a margin squeeze and thus were rejected (see the Gazette's issue, in greek). Once again EETT adopted the REO (Reasonably Efficient Operator) standard.

Moldova's Regulatory Authority proceeds to regulating voice call termination

Anrceti has set specific obligations on SMP providers in the market of voice call termination mobile and fixed for the first time (see also telecompaper.com). Moldtelecom, Orange Moldova and Moldcell shall comply with access, non-discrimination and transparency obligations (the third in the mobile market and the first two in the mobile and fixed market). Moldtelekom shall comply also with an accounting separation obligation and all 18 operators in the market shall in due time adopt cost-oriented prices, after the authority sets a transition path (see Anrceti's press release).