Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Seagate/Samsung and Western Digital/Hitachi mergers enter phase II

The Commission decided to put the two mergers (Seagate/Samsung and Western Digital/Hitachi) under phase II for an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation (see the press release).

Austrian NRA's report shows rise of mobile disputes as opposed to fixed disputes

RTR, mention in its press release, that most of the disputes brought, "only 17% were allotted to problems in the fixed-line network, whereas 83% had to do with procedures relating to mobile phone use".

Irish NRA launches consultation on remedies within the NGA environment

ComReg has launched its consultation regarding the potential remedies to be adopted in markets 4 and 5 within the NGA environment.

FCC issues declaratory ruling on competitive providers' interconnection rights

The US authority has issued a delaratory ruling on competitive providers' interconnection rights in order to "clarify statutory rights under section 251 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, in light of apparently conflicting determinations in several states".

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Greek NRA consults on its 3rd round or review of markets 4 and 5

EETT has launched its consultation regarding its 3rd round of review of the physical network infrsturcture access (in greek) and wholesale broadband access (in greek) markets. EETT, has included fiber in the relevant markets and opts for regulating the NGA product that OTE, the incumbent, has designed. It shall be reminded that OTE's VDSL product was temporarily blocked from its distribution, after the undertaking was imposed with interim measures which will be repealed by the regulatory provisions that the market reviews will produce.

Portuguese NRA issues measures on unfair commercial practices in DTV

"ANACOM has decided that all commercial practises which lead in any way the consumer to believe that a paid service should be subscribed in order to continue receiving free and unrestricted access television programme services, namely RTP1, RTP2, SIC and TVI, as well as RTP Açores and RTP Madeira in the respective Autonomous Regions, are prohibited.

This position has been taken after doorstep-selling situations and telephone calls were brought to public attention, in which, given the inevitable analogue switch-off, the subscription of a paid service was presented as the only solution to continue watching TV, clearly an unfair commercial practise pursuant to article 5, paragraph 1, of Decree-Law number 57/2008, of 26 March" (see the press release).

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Trasposition of the telecoms package

By 25th May 2011, Member States shall traspose into their national legal order the telecoms package, i.e., the Better Regulation and Citizens' Rights Directives. For a brief outlook of the changes that the package brings see the Commission's recent press releases (see here, here, here and here). Unfortunately, it seems inevitable to see many investigations for infringements over non trasposal of the said provisions in the months to come.

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to the Polish NRA on the latter's dispute settlement in MTR and SMS termination

The Commission, in its decision, made the following comment to UKE on the latter's dispute settlement on mobile termination rates and SMS termination rates.

1) "The Commission notes that, in the currently notified draft measures, UKE intends to set the mobile termination rates only on a bilateral basis, i.e. for a pair of operators, instead of adopting regulatory decisions based on market analysis procedures in line with Article 16 of the Framework Directive. The latter decisions would address the identified competition problem and set generally applicable termination rates.

The Commission is concerned that the present disputes, and hence the need for frequent regulatory intervention, are the result of ineffective and therefore inefficient regulation of MTRs in Poland. The Commission has on several occasions urged UKE to impose without delay legally binding regulatory measures setting out the details of mobile termination rates for the operators concerned, effective vis-à-vis all other operators, and to notify such measures under Article 7 of the Framework Directive. In a response to a formal Commission request for information, UKE had indeed committed to adopt and consult such decisions.

The Commission considers therefore, that by continuing to set mobile termination rates by means of settling individual disputes, UKE does not take utmost account of the Commission's comments. Moreover, UKE's approach is not only inefficient but also likely to create disputes rather than avoiding them. It further requires unnecessarily frequent regulatory interventions and is, therefore, overly bureaucratic and leading to unjustified regulatory costs in Poland.

Consequently, the Commission urges UKE to impose MTRs by way of regulatory decisions based on market analysis procedures instead of relying on non-binding statements and dispute settlements (separately for specific pairs of operators)".

2) "The Commission would like to reiterate the Commission's comment on UKE's previous notification of MTRs of new entrants. The Commission urges UKE to take full account of the Termination Rates Recommendation and to set costoriented termination rates also for new entrant mobile operators. In this respect, UKE should demonstrate that the proposed level (and duration) of asymmetry of MTRs correspond to any higher costs incurred by such operators. UKE should further endeavour to set symmetrical MTRs, oriented towards the cost of an efficient operator, as soon as possible".

3) "The Commission considers that Article 5 of the Access Directive must be used with caution, taking into account the general principle of the electronic communications regulatory framework that regulation should only be imposed when necessary and must in any event be proportionate to the competition problem identified.

The Commission points out that the obligations proposed by UKE fall within the scope of the wholesale market for SMS termination which is considered in Poland as a market susceptible to ex-ante regulation. Contrary to its previous commitments, UKE, instead of analyzing the relevant market in question for all operators, only draws certain preliminary conclusions with regard to the market for SMS termination in the network of Mobyland. The Commission stresses that any preliminary finding which forms part of the current draft measures should not prejudge the outcome of the market analysis and SMP assessment in the market for SMS termination in Mobyland's network, which is to be carried out and notified to the Commission and other NRAs in accordance with Articles 15 and 16 of the Framework Directive. Moreover, the fact that an operator is currently not providing the services of SMS termination (due to an alleged lack of agreement on interconnection and the level of prices), should not prevent UKE from assessing its market power (in a relevant market which is very similar to numerous markets already assessed before). The Commission reminds UKE to complete its market analysis for all other operators terminating SMS in Poland, under Articles 15 and 16 of the Framework Directive, as soon as possible".

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to Slovakian NRA on the latter's review and price control obligations in the NIA market

The Commission, in its decision, made the following comments to TUSR:

1) "TÚSR held one national consultation on the market review and two national consultations on the price methodology. The Commission notes that the draft measures were published on the web site of TÚSR and the latter informed the press about the national consultations, with a short message. Individual communications regarding the draft measure were, however, addressed exclusively to Slovak Telekom. In this regard, the Commission points out that such a procedure appears to treat the SMP operator differently and likely in a privileged way, compared to other market players.

The Commission therefore underlines that, in particular as the proposed draft measure has a significant impact on the relevant market, all interested parties should be able to participate in the national consultations under equal conditions. The Commission recalls that an equal treatment obligation is a general principle of EU law which needs to be generally respected. Moreover, the Commission notes that the consultation mechanism is a key feature of the regulatory process and therefore needs to be conducted in a way which effectively places all market players in an equal position. The Commission, consequently, calls upon TÚSR to ensure in the future an equal treatment of all market players in the national consultation".

2) "TÚSR proposes to limit the price control remedy to the copper network. In this regard, the Commission points out that in accordance with Article 8(4) of the Access Directive, obligations imposed shall be based on the nature of the problem identified, proportionate, and justified in light of the objectives of Article 8 of the Framework Directive, including the principle that regulation should be technology neutral.

The Commission notes that TÚSR proposes to set Slovak Telekom's charges for LLU solely on the basis of EU benchmarking. The Commission is concerned that EU benchmarking is not a suitable price setting methodology in this case24 and may not allow for specific national circumstances that may have an impact on costs to be taken into account. Benchmarking may also be unsuitable to ensure an appropriate margin between retail prices and the regulated local loop unbundling rates in the Slovak Republic. A reasonable margin is essential to encourage both the regulated access provider to invest in infrastructure and alternative operators to climb the ladder of investment (and to avoid a price squeeze between the various active rungs of the ladder).

The Commission points out that if an NRA decides to impose price regulation on the basis of a comparison with other EU countries, it should carefully select the objective criteria and clearly justify the reasons for which it believes that the relevant market(s) in these countries are, against the background of those criteria, most suited as the basis for the comparison. In this respect, differences between the conditions prevailing on the relevant market(s) in the countries compared and the relevant home market should be taken into account. TÚSR failed to do so in its notified draft measures.

Against this background, the Commission invites TÚSR to impose cost oriented prices for access to copper loops instead of benchmarking which is currently proposed".

3) "The Commission welcomes that TÚSR is considering mandating the unbundling of the SMP operator's G-PON network. TÚSR intends to specify in a further decision how to implement the details of such unbundling. In this regard, the Commission recalls that the Commission's NGA Recommendation stipulates in its Recommend 22 that access to the fibre loop in cases of FTTH should be provided at the most appropriate point in the network, which is normally the Metropolitan Point of Presence (MPoP). It is worth noting that Slovak Telekom already offers retail services over its fibre network. It is, hence, key to access seekers to have access also to this infrastructure of the regulated SMP operator, as this would allow for competitive entry and competition. Therefore, the Commission invites TÚSR to implement fibre unbundling without delay, and to notify the details of such remedy to the Commission pursuant to Article 7(3) of the Framework Directive.

Moreover, the Commission underlines that, in line with Recommend 25 and Annex 1 of the NGA Recommendation, fibre unbundling services should be set on the basis of cost oriented prices, however appropriately adjusted for investment risks. In light of the above, the Commission invites TÚSR to impose in its final measure an ex-ante price control, based on cost orientation, also on fibre based access".

Moldova's regulator to issue decision on its review of the retail fixed market and consult on fixed call origination and transit markets

ANRCETI will hold a public session to approve its draft decision designating JSC Moldtelecom as SMP provider in retail fixed telephony market (see the press release). The regulator has also launched two consultation on its review of the fixed call origination and transit markets (see the press release).

Greek NRA issues price control charges to be adopted by the incumbent on its wholesale offers

EETT has issued in a unified document (in greek), the wholesale prices to be charged by OTE, under the price control the latter is subject to.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Italian NRA's documents as regards its consultation on NGA regulatory approach

AGCOM has made public its documents (see the relavant page, in italian), regarding its consultation on its NGA regulatory approach to be adopted.

Italian NRA consults on incumbent's 2011 network cap in LLU and bitstream

AGCOM has launched its consultation regarding the network cap to be adopted for 2011 in LLU (see the relevant page, in italian) and bitstream (see the relevant page, in italian).

Monday, 23 May 2011

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to Irish regulator on WBA

The Commission, in its decision, suggested to ComReg on the latter's review of the wholesale broadband access, that he reviewed the market of physical network access as well to ensure a coherent approach as regards NGA regulation.

Friday, 20 May 2011

UK mobile providers appeal OFCOM's MTRs

BT, H3G, Everyhting Everywhere, and Vodafone have appealed OFCOM's MTRs which provide for a LRIC model and a four year glide path, before CAT.

Greek NRA consults on market 1

EETT, has set under consultation (in greek) the second review of the market of access to the public telephone network at a fixed location for residential and non-residential customers till the 20th of May 2011 and has defined two markets; that of PSTN, ISDN BRA and managed VOIP access market and that of ISDN PRA access market.

Greek Data Protection Authority's observations on the Greek Data Privacy in Communications Authority's proposed privacy and security regulation

The Greek Data Protection Authority submitted its comments (in greek) to the Greek Authority for Communication Security and Privacy regarding the latter's proposed regulation on the protection of privacy and security in electronic communications. The most interesting comments were the ones that focused on the lack of competence of the latter authority to regulate non-public communications providers and communications data beyond the element of the content of the communication as the Greek Data Protection Auhtority is the one competent to regulate on these issues (non-public communications providers and location and direction of data).

Amongst other observations that the Greek Data Protection Authority made, one is certain, and that is that the field of privacy in electronic communications lacks legal certainty with two authorities having joint competence in some issues and exclusive one in others. There is no obvious reason to me why the Government shouldn't merge these two Authorities.

ps: the same applies as well to the Greek Telecoms & Posts Commission and the Greek National Council for Radio and Television.

Italian regulator transmits its proposed NGA regulatory framework to the Commission

AGCOM has provided the Commission with its proposed NGA regulatory framework for further consultation. The details of the draft framework have not been uploaded by the NRA (see AGCOM' press release).

Thursday, 19 May 2011

French NRA adopts decision on the net cost of the 2009 universal service

ARCEP has issued its decision on the evaluation of the methodology followed to assess the net costs involved in providing the universal service in 2009.

Polish regulator requests amendment of the universal service legislative provisions

The universal service obligation of Telekomunikacja Polska has come to an end. A transitory phase will follow whereby the incumbent will still provide universal service. However, the President of UKE "decided that the existing model of USO provision is ineffective, does not fit actual users’ needs and the conditions of the telecommunications market in Poland as well as it fails to implement in a fully correct manner the provisions of the EU law (lack of flexibility)". "For this reason, the President of UKE presented its proposals for amendment to the Telecommunications Act, among others with respect to the universal service provision model in Poland" (see UKE's press release).

Italian regulator comes up with the procedural rules on the spectrum refarming process

AGCOM has decided on the procedure of the tender for the assignment of frequencies in the 800, 1800, 2000 and 2600 MHz bands, which is the biggest assignment procedure to take place in Italy as around 300 MHz will be distributed. The detailed rules will be in AGCOM's site in due time (see AGCOM's press release).

Verizon sues FCC over data roaming rules

The FCC's data roaming rules (see an older post), are put into question by Verizon. The latter bases its action on the alleged excess of jurisdiction by the FCC (see washingtonpost.com).

Commission closes infringement cases against Germany on DT's NGN regulatory holiday and 2,6 GHz limitations

The European Commission closed its two pending infringement cases against Germany. The first, which concerned the legal provisions availing Deutsche Telekom with regulatory holidays as regarded its NGN network and which had been condemned by the ECJ, was closed since the said provisions were retired in April 2011. The second case, which concerned the limitation set in the 2,6 GHz prescribing the use for mobile services only, was closed as well "as the German frequency ordinance was modified so that both mobile and fixed wireless services could use these frequencies" (see the Commission's press release).

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to the Swedish NRA on the latter's notification of new details of its LRIC model

PTS notified the Commission of the proposed modification of its LRIC models which concerns the price control remedy imposed in the fixed call orignation, termination, WBA and PNIA markets. The Commission, in its decision, made the following comments:

1) "PTS foresees to apply one single (average) copper access charge across the Swedish territory, whereas fibre access charges will be de-averaged according to geotypes. This may lead to a situation where in city areas copper access would be more expensive than fibre access, whereas in rural areas copper access would be cheaper. As a consequence investment incentives may be adversely affected in all four geotypes. On the basis of the information provided by PTS, it remains unclear why the proposed averaging of the copper access charge is considered justified, when at the same time fibre is defined as MEA.

The Commission therefore requests PTS to provide further evidence as to the adequacy of the pricing structure of copper access relative to fibre, and to reassess the risk that the de-averaging of fibre charges, when compared to copper, may distort the incentives to invest in fibre networks".

2) "With regard to the deployment of a new access network infrastructure in detached housing areas, PTS states that the actual proportion of detached houses connected with fibre is low, as fibre-based access is still underdeveloped and characterised by higher roll-out risk. PTS thus proposes to address the risk of lower penetration of fibre in those areas by adjusting the price for access to new fibre rolled out in detached housing areas during a transition period, i.e. until the next market review, which is planned for 2013.

In this regard, PTS determines that the costs per line of deploying a new fibre network to a detached housing area (single dwellings) in all geotypes shall be equal to the roll-out costs derived for geotype 3 (rural areas with 5 to 50 lines/km). PTS therefore allows the incumbent to apply a wholesale charge for newly installed fibre unbundling to detached houses, which corresponds to the costs derived for geotype 3, irrespective of whether such detached housing areas are located in higher density areas (geotypes 1 and 2). The adjustment of prices leads to higher charges for fibre access in higher density areas.

The Commission acknowledges the particular features of the roll-out of fibre in Sweden, where deployment occurs upon request and where the risks associated with the roll-out are not such so as to assume an overall higher risk of deployment and to justify incorporating a risk premium in the WACC. The option adopted by PTS aims at rewarding the additional risk which concerns only new roll-out to detached housing areas.

The Commission nevertheless invites PTS to better justify, in the final measure, the adequacy of the risk-rewarding methodology chosen. The Commission also invites PTS to better substantiate the assumption of reduced fibre uptake in detached housing areas and the compatibility of such inference with the 'single model approach' which assumes widespread fibre roll-out".

3)"According to the stepped transition scheme proposed by PTS, common costs are included in the calculation of fixed termination prices for 2011 and 2012. With a view to comply with the Termination Rates Recommendation, as from 2013 PTS plans to introduce into its stepped transition scheme a model based on incremental costs in which 6/7 of the termination costs will be based on a 'pure LRIC approach', whereas 1/7 of the costs will be derived from the version which includes common costs. The 'pure' LRIC model will be thus not fully implemented before 2014. PTS has chosen to keep the announced transition scheme unchanged, and thus fully implement pure LRIC in 2014 only, to ensure regulatory predictability.

While the Commission acknowledges the relevance of ensuring regulatory certainty in the regulation of termination markets, it nevertheless invites PTS to apply a stepped transition scheme which would lead to full compliance with the Termination Rates Recommendation already by 1 January 2013".

Dispute on MTRs between O2 and each of Vpdafone and H3G

OFCOM will handle the dispute arisen between O2 and each of Vodafone and H3G on Mobile Termination Rates. O2 alleges that the other two operators have engaged in October 2010 "flip flopping. O2 describes flip flopping as the practice of changing wholesale voice call termination charges on a monthly basis, and dramatically increasing the weekend charges in certain of those months" (see OFCOM's press release).

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Italian NRA consults on the review of the mobile call termination market

AGCOM has launched its consultation regarding its review of the mobile call termination market (see AGCOM's relevant page).

Italian NRA consults on incumbents WLR offer

After AGCOM define d the network cap, consults now on the offer that Telecom Italia will provide its Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) product (see AGCOM's announcement).

French NRA's draft decisions on spectrum allocation for 4g deployment

ARCEP has provided its draft decisions (all in french) regarding the spectrum allocation in the 800MHz and 2,6 GHz band for the deployment of 4g. The NRA notes specifically:

"As a result, the amount of spectrum that any operator will be awarded cannot exceed a 15 MHz duplex in the 800 MHz band and a 30 MHz duplex in the 2.6 GHz band. Moreover, should there be four eligible candidates for the 2.6 GHz-band frequencies, each carrier is guaranteed to receive a 15 MHz duplex if it has applied for this quantity of spectrum. The procedures also include a scheme that is designed to encourage carriers to open their networks up fully to mobile virtual network operators (full MVNOs)".

The allocation in the 2,6 GHz is expected to take place in autumn 2011 and in the 800MHz in early 2012 (see ARCEP's press release).

UK's new Communications Bill enters phase of consultation

The planned new bill on communications enters the phase of consultation (see dcms' relevant page).

Commission receives notification of Vivendi/SFR merger

The Commission received the notification of the proposed acquisition of SFR by Vivendi.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to Polish NRA on the latter's remedies in MTRs

The Commission, in its decision, had the following comments to make on UKE's proposed remedies in the mobile termination rates market:

"In accordance with Article 8(4) of the Access Directive the obligations imposed on SMP operators shall be based on the nature of the problem identified, proportionate and justified in the light of the regulatory objectives laid down in Article 8 of the Framework Directive.

In its assessment of the markets for mobile call termination, as notified to the Commission in 2009, UKE did not explain why it believes the problem of insufficient network coverage to be most effectively addressed in the markets for mobile call termination on the networks of the four largest MNOs in Poland. Also in the currently notified draft measure UKE does not provide any further evidence why it considers the change of the previously proposed MTRs justified and proportionate to improve network coverage in Poland. The Commission therefore concludes that UKE fails to demonstrate that the proposed measures are in accordance with Article 8(4) of the Access Directive.

The Commission further observes that the proposed prices for the period up to 1 July 2012 are 57% higher than the termination rates proposed by UKE only a month ago. The target price in the currently proposed glide path (to be achieved after 1 July 2012) will still be 26% above the previously notified target price. However, in both cases UKE argues that the MTRs are cost based.

The Commission reminds UKE that in numerous previous comments and in its Termination Rates Recommendation it advocates the use of a BU-LRIC model, which includes only those costs that could be avoided if MTR services were no longer provided (i.e. avoidable costs). UKE does not explain whether and to which extent the additional roll-out costs incurred by the four mobile network operators are incremental to the provision of call termination services and how they are allocated to that service. Based on the information available, it appears, however, that the additional network roll-out costs have been allocated to call termination services in their entirety, which would clearly go against the approach recommended by the Commission.

Moreover, UKE fails to take into consideration that MTRs should be oriented towards the cost of an efficient operator. The use of actual costs incurred by the four mobile operators as well as the recovery of costs which are not incremental to the provision of the wholesale termination services can lead to distorted investment signals and higher prices for the originating operators and, consequently, their consumers.

Against this background the Commission considers that UKE's draft measures are not in line with Article 8 (4) of the Access Directive and fails to understand how the proposed price levels could lead to MTRs in line with the Termination Rates Recommendation. The Commission therefore requests UKE not to adopt the draft measures as notified, and to adopt the previously notified draft measures registered under case number PL/2011/1195 instead, taking utmost account of the Commission's comments. The Commission also urges UKE to adopt a BULRIC model as of 1 January 2013, as foreseen in UKE's previous notification".

Commision's Art. 7 Comments to Polish NRA on the Telekomunikacja Polska/Mobyland MTR dispute

The Commission had two comments to make in its decision on UKE's approach to the Telekomunikacja Polska/Mobyland dispute on termination rates:

1) "The Commission notes that, in the currently notified draft measures, UKE intends to set the mobile termination rates on Mobyland's network only on a bilateral basis, in relation to only one operator (Telekomunikacja Polska S.A.). In this respect the Commission would like to draw UKE's attention to the fact that UKE committed to consult and adopt a set of decisions which will set out in detail the MTRs for new entrant mobile operators effective vis-à-vis all other operators originating calls. So far UKE has not consulted any draft measures in this respect.

The Commission urges UKE to impose without delay regulatory measures which will formally impose mobile termination rates for new market entrants, including Mobyland, and to notify such measures under Article 7 of the Framework Directive".

2) "The Commission reiterates its comment on UKE's previous notification of MTRs of new entrants. As stated in the Termination Rates Recommendation, MTRs of new entrants may be subject to higher unit cost for a transitional period before having reached the minimum efficient scale. NRAs may allow new entrant operators, after having demonstrated that there are impediments to market entry and expansion on the retail market, to recoup their higher incremental costs for a period of up to four years. After this transitional period MTRs of all operators should be symmetric and oriented towards the costs of an efficient operator in line with the Termination Rates Recommendation.

Therefore the Commission urges UKE to take full account of the Termination Rates Recommendation and to set cost-oriented termination rates also for new entrant mobile operators. In this respect UKE should demonstrate that the proposed level (and duration) of asymmetry of MTRs correspond to the higher costs of Mobyland. UKE should further endeavour to set symmetrical MTRs, oriented towards the cost of an efficient operator, as soon as possible".

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to Lithuanian NRA on the latter's review of the PNIA market

The Commission had two comments to make in its decision on RTT's review of the market of wholesale (physical) network infrastructure access (including shared or fully unbundled access) at a fixed location:

1) "the Commission calls on RRT to impose on the SMP operator an obligation to provide fully unbundled access to its fibre loops in addition to access to civil engineering infrastructures and not make fibre access conditional on the availability of the latter".

2) "The Commission would like to draw the attention of RRT to the fact that migration from copper to fibre loops and the dismantling of exchanges substantially affects the business case for alternative operators. It is critical that NRAs obtain all relevant information from the SMP operator concerning any network modification plans where the SMP operator envisages replacing part of its existing copper access network with fibre, and plans to de-commission currently used points of interconnection.

The Commission recalls that existing SMP obligations in relation to market 4 should continue to remain in force and should not be rendered invalid by changes to the existing network architecture and technology, unless agreement is reached on an appropriate migration path between the SMP operator and operators currently enjoying access to the SMP operator's network.

Therefore the Commission invites RRT to clearly specify in its final adopted measure the migration rules related to migration from copper to fibre loops, taking account of the provisions of the NGA Recommendation".

Greek Administrative Court of Appeals holds fine against Vodafone

The Administrative Court of Appeals of Athens hold the fine of 19,1 million € that the Greek NRA, EETT, imposed on Vodafone for the eavesdropping case (see EETT's press release, in greek).

Belgium's fourth 3g license application admitted

In an older post it was mentioned that only one operator applied for the fourth 3g license. That operator was NV/SA TELENET TECTEO BIDCO, and BIPT considered the application admissible meaning that the fourth operator will soon enter the market (see the NRA's press release).

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Policy document on the interoperability of modern broadband networks adopted by stakeholders in Germany

Under the auspices of the NRA, a policy document on the interoperability of modern broadband networks has been adopted by stakeholers. "The policy document categorises all relevant access products according to their technical requirements in terms of access interfaces and other cooperation interfaces. In particular it specifies access network architectures and technologies, describes requirements for wholesale products and derives descriptions and recommendations for cooperation interfaces. Likewise, the roles of market participants involved in cooperations, along with requirements from an end consumer perspective, are identified for business processes, and the interfaces to be agreed upon are derived from this. These include installation/ provision, termination, fault repair and change of supplier, amongst others. Based on this framework specification, a second results document will be drafted which will include service specifications for an ethernet bitstream access product. Ideally, these service specifications could be used as a simple basis (in the form of a standard agreement) for bilateral cooperation agreements and adapted to specific situations" (see the NRA's press release).

Commission's decision on France's fourth 3g license

"The European Commission has ruled that the procedure for awarding France's fourth 3G mobile phone licence in 2009 did not involve any state aid under the EU rules. In the Commission's view, the award was made by way of a transparent and open procedure in accordance with European Union regulations and resulted in a competitive outcome. The Commission has therefore rejected the complaints filed by the three mobile phone operators currently active in the French market". The Commission, noted furthermore as regards the license fees that "that Member States, when allocating frequencies for mobile communications, act as regulators and are obliged to take into account the goal of facilitating increased competition. It follows from this that any loss in revenue for the State when awarding frequencies does not necessarily constitute state aid. In this case, the Commission's investigation showed that the French authorities had taken sufficient precautions to ensure a competitive outcome. The call for tenders was carried out as a transparent process. Since only one undertaking responded to the call, the Commission noted, moreover, that a bidding procedure would probably have resulted in an even lower fee"(see the press release).

European Parliament adopts Radio Spectrum Policy Programme at first reading

The EP has adopted the RSPP programme at first reading. "Under the Commission's plans, EU countries would have to make the 800 MHz frequency band available for harmonised use of wireless broadband services by 1 January 2013. Parliament passed an amendment which would allow Member States to ask for a postponement until the end of 2015, or even longer, if they have problems in cross-border frequency coordination with neighbouring third countries. After 2013, MEPs want the EU to be even bolder: bands of 1.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz should also be made available for mobile broadband, while the spectrum allocated for mobile data traffic should reach at least 1200 MHz by 2015, they say. In addition, the Commission should monitor technological developments and the efficiency of spectrum use to assess whether additional frequencies (such as the 700 MHz band) should also be harmonised to make room for new users and services" (see the EP's and Kroes' press releases).

Maltese NRA's draft decision on Functional Internet Access provision in Universal Service

MCA has issued its draft decision which seeks to effect a minimum broadband access speed provision as regards the offering of services by the universal service provider designated. That speed has been set at 4Mbs. The Functional Internet Access provision will be incorporated in the universal service obligations once it is verified that such a speed may be delivered indeed by the provider (see MCA's relevant page).

Portuguese NRA issues draft decision on the authorisation regime in the 2GHz band for MSS deployment

ANACOM has issued its draft decision regarding the authorisation regime in the 2GHz band, which will be used for the deployment of Mobile Satellite Services (see the press release).

Polish NRA issues broadband access market review

UKE has issued its review of market 5 (Wholesale Broadband Access). It shall be reminded that there was an agreement between the incumbent and UKE bringing tensions with the European Commission as the latter regards such agreement concluded outside the scope of the Framework Directive. UKE, in the present review, notes that the regulatory provisions implement the said agreement (see UKE's press release).

Italian regulator determines incumbent's fixed call origination, termination and transit charges

AGCOM has provided the determination of Telecom Italia's charges on fixed call origination, termination and transit services.

UK's regulator statement and statutory notice on Recognised Spectrum Access for Receive Only Earth Stations

OFCOM has issued its statement on terms of new grants and statutory notice of OFCOM’s intention to make regulations as regards Recognised Spectrum Access (“RSA”) for Receive Only Earth Stations in the bands 1690 – 1710 MHz, 3600 – 4200 MHz and 7750 – 7850 MHz.

British regulator consults on the definition of the PRS Condition subjects

Pursuant to the new PRS (Premium Rate Services Code), which will take effect from 1 September 2011, OFCOM consults on the amendement of the PRS Condition defining the subjects of the Code and thus the subjects which will be controlled by Phonepay Plus (the PRS "regulator").

Microsoft Antitrust Final Judgment expired

The historic antitrust case came to an end with expiry of the final judgment today (see DoJ's press release).

Ruling of the CGEU in Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa

The Court ruled that "Article 58 of the Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic to the European Union and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded must be interpreted as not precluding an NRA from referring to the Commission Guidelines on market analysis and the assessment of significant market power under the Community regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services in a decision by which that NRA imposes certain regulatory obligations on an operator of electronic communications services, notwithstanding the fact that those guidelines have not been published in the Official Journal of the European Union in the language of the Member State in question, even though that language is an official language of the Union".

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Romanian regulator requires quality indicators incorporated in contracts with consumers

ANCOM decided to require from providers, that quality indicators get incorporated in the contracts with consumers. The NRA further intends to launch a website reporting the performance of the services provided (see the press release).

Malta's 900 and 1800 MHz assignement process concluded

MCA has reported the conclusion of the 900/1800 MHz assignment process (see the press release).

"In the 900 MHz band,
- Channel 1 will be assigned to Melita Mobile Ltd,
- Channels 2, 3 and 4 will be assigned to Mobisle Communications Ltd
- Channels 5, 6 and 7 will be assigned to Vodafone Malta Ltd.

In the 1800 MHz band,http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
- Channels 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be assigned to Mobisle Communications Ltd
- Channels 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 will be assigned to Vodafone Malta Ltd".

Greek NRAs 2nd consultation on 27,5 - 29,5 GHz

EETT has relaunched its consultation (in greek) on the assignment of the 27,5 - 29,5 GHz spectrum in order to further include the use for broadband services within its scope after relative requests were made in the first consultation conducted.

Consultation on new Greek trademark law

The Greek draft law on trademarks (in greek) has been handed down for consultation. The new law will transpose Directive 2004/48 and has taken into consideration Regulation 207/2009. The consultation will run up until 20/5/2011.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Irish regulator updates consultation procedures

ComReg has updated and made public its new consultation procedure.

MOU signed between Portuguese and Georgian regulators

" ANACOM and the Georgian National Communications Commission, represented by their Chairmen, José Amado da Silva and Irakli Chikovani, respectively, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation aiming to improve the functioning of the of electronic communications sectors in the context of the economic development of both States" (see the press release).

Portugal's NRA publishes Analysis Mason's presentation on mobile termination cost model

In the context of ANACOM's consultation on the cost model to be adopted in mobile termination, has made public the presentation of Analysis Mason on the issue, which will be taken into consideration in formulating the cost model (see the press release).

French NRA adopts final decision on mobile termination market

ARCEP, following its consultation (see older post on Commission's Art. 7 Comments), has adopted its final decision (in french) on its review of the Mobile Termination market.

Court Week 9/5/2011 - 13/5/2011

This week the CGEU will deliver its ruling in the Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa case which concerns; "Interpretation of Article 58 of the Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded (OJ 2003 L 236, p. 33) – Publication of acts in the Official Journal of the European Union – Application by the regulatory authority of a Member State of Commission guidelines not published in the language of that State".

European Commission approves Spain's decoders for persons with visual disbilities aid scheme

The Commission approved Spanish aid sheme, aiming to finance persons with visual disabilities in acquiring their digital decoders (see notification).

Friday, 6 May 2011

Greek Data Protection Authority issued directions as regards consent in unsolicited communication

Following the ePrivacy Directive's provisions and the national laws concerned, the Greek Data Protection issued its directions (in greek) as regards consent in unsolicited communications.

Maltese NRA's strategy on regulating NGA

MCA has issued an outline of its strategy to be adopted concerning NGA (see the press release).

Italian NRA approves network cap on incumbent's WLR

AGCOM has approved the network cap glidepath in relation to the offering of its WLR product (see the relative page, in italian).

Italian NRAs universal service quality objectives

AGCOM has determined its objectives in relation to the quality criteria on delivering universal service (see the relative page, in italian).

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to the French NRA on MTR

The Commission had no comments to make in its decision concerning ARCEPs update of its BU-LRIC cost model on mobile termination and the rates imposed.

Commission receives notification of Seagate/Samsung HDD merger

The European Commission has received the notification of the proposed acquisition of Samsung's Hard Disk Drive business by Seagate.

Commission receives notification of Western Digital /Viviti merger

The European Commission has received the notification of the proposed acquisition of Viviti by Western Digital.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

AG Bot's Opinion in the Mesopotamia Broadcasting case

AG Bot delivered his opinion (in french) in the Mesopotamia Broadcast and Roj TV cases which involve the situation whereby a dannish satellite broadcaster was prohibited from being received in Germany owing to its alleged support to PKK, a Kurdish Party which has been characterised as a terrorist organisation by the EU. Art. 22 of the TVWF Directive, provides that "Member States shall also ensure that broadcasts do not contain any incitement to hatred on grounds of race, sex, religion or nationality". AG Bot, interpreting the said provision, supports that the principles of international understanding may serve as a ground for prohibiting broadcasts since these broadcasts might spur reactions of hostility or rejection between ethnic or cultural groups, notions which are incorporated in the aforementioned provision.

Deutsche Telekom directory case ruling

The CGEU ruled that Art. 25(2) of the Universal Service Directive does not preclude "national legislation under which undertakings assigning telephone numbers to end users must make available to undertakings whose activity consists in providing publicly available directory enquiry services and directories not only data relating to their own subscribers but also data in their possession relating to subscribers of third-party undertakings".

The Court held also, that Art. 12 of the ePrivacy Directive (recoursing as well to the Charter) does not preclude "national legislation under which an undertaking publishing public directories must pass personal data in its possession relating to subscribers of other telephone service providers to a third-party undertaking whose activity consists in publishing a printed or electronic public directory or making such directories obtainable through directory enquiry services, and under which the passing on of those data is not conditional on renewed consent from the subscribers, provided, however, that those subscribers have been informed, before the first inclusion of their data in a public directory, of the purpose of that directory and of the fact that those data could be communicated to another telephone service provider and that it is guaranteed that those data will not, once passed on, be used for purposes other than those for which they were collected with a view to their first publication".

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

CGEU's ruling in Tele 2 Polska

The Court has ruled in the Tele 2 Polska case, first that "Article 5 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty must be interpreted as precluding a national competition authority, in the case where, in order to apply Article 102 TFEU, it examines whether the conditions for applying that article are satisfied and where, following that examination, it forms the view that there has been no abuse, from being able to take a decision stating that there has been no breach of that article". Secondly, it found that "the second paragraph of Article 5 of Regulation No 1/2003 is directly applicable and precludes the application of a rule of national law which would require a procedure relating to the application of Article 102 TFEU to be brought to an end by a decision stating that there has been no breach of that article".

CAT delivers decision in BT 080 numbers termination and ethernet services, dismissing BT's appeals

Here is the summary of the decision that the Competition Appeals Tribunal has delivered dismissing both of BT's appeals by finding that there was indeed a dispute within the meaning of the Communications Act 2003 for OFCOM to intervene:

"Judgment of the Tribunal unanimously dismissing two appeals by British Telecommunications plc (“BT”) against decisions by OFCOM to accept jurisdiction of alleged disputes referred to OFCOM under section 185 of the Communications Act 2003. The first appeal involved OFCOM’s decision that they had jurisdiction to determine alleged disputes between BT and certain mobile network operators in relation to the new pricing structure set by BT for termination of calls to 080 numbers (“the NCCN 1007 Appeal”). The second appeal concerned OFCOM’s decision that they had jurisdiction to determine alleged disputes between BT and certain communications providers concerning an alleged overcharge for Ethernet services (“the Ethernet Appeal”).

In both the NCCN 1007 Appeal and the Ethernet Appeal the Tribunal held that, having regard to the events which had happened, there were “disputes” within the meaning of that section capable of being referred to OFCOM for resolution in accordance with the Act. The Tribunal rejected BT’s submission that the prospect of future negotiations between the parties after handing down of judgments of the Tribunal in related pending appeals prevented a “dispute” from coming into existence.

The Tribunal also held, in both appeals, that OFCOM were clearly entitled to come to the view that such future negotiations would not amount to satisfactory alternative means for resolving either of the sets of disputes under section 186 of the 2003 Act.

In the NCCN 1007 Appeal the Tribunal decided that OFCOM were clearly entitled to conclude that there were no exceptional circumstances, within the meaning of section 186(5) of the 2003 Act, in the disputes in question".

Spanish Competition Authority initiates proceedings against Telecinco

CNC opened formal proceedings against Telecinco for not upholding its commitments taken within the context of the Telecinco/Cuatro merger (see the press release).

Monday, 2 May 2011

One candidate for Belgium's fourth 3g license

Only one candidate applied for the fourth 3g license regarding Belgium's relative spectrum auction (see the press release).

Irish regulator's draft decision on PPC's cost modelling and further consultations

ComReg has issued its draft decision following its consultation on the cost methodology and modelling, its pricing methodology, and its ex-ante margin squeeze test, relating to PPCs (Private Partial Circuits), NGN Ethernet and current generation Ethernet leased lines. It also decided to consult further "on the draft charges for WLL, PPC and Ethernet products as well as the details of the pre-defined ex-ante “Margin Squeeze” test between certain regulated wholesale services" (see the document).

Greek NRA consults on its new base stations licensing regulation

After the Joint Ministerial Decision on the licensing of base stations (in greek) was published in the National Gazzette in March (see an older post), EETT, the Greek NRA, launched its consultation regarding its new regulation (in greek) on the licensing procedure for base station which will last up until 17 May 2011 (see press release, in greek).

Court Week 2/5/2011 - 6/5/2011

This week the CGEU will deliver its judgment in 1) Tele 2 Polska, on Tuesday 3/5, which concerns "whether the competition authorities of the Member States have the power to take a decision stating that Article 82 EC is not applicable to the commercial practices of an undertaking", and 2)the Deutsche Telekom directory case, on Thursday 5/5, which concerns the "provision of telephone directory services – Scope of the obligation imposed on an undertaking which has assigned telephone numbers to subscribers to transmit to other undertakings all the data relevant for editing a universal directory or providing a universal information service – Data concerning subscribers of thirdparty undertakings".

AG Bot will issue on Thursday, 5/5, his opinion in the Mesopotamia Broadcast and Roj TV cases which involve; "Prohibition of an activity, opposed by the authorities of a Member State, of a television broadcaster established in another Member State for infringement of the principles of international understanding – Exclusion from the power of the recipient Member State of the ability to prevent, in its territory, television broadcasts from other Member States for reasons which fall within the fields coordinated by Directive 89/552/EEC – Admissibility of the infringement of the principles of international understanding as a ground for prohibition falling within the fields coordinated by that directive".