Friday, 23 December 2011

FCC proposes amendments to media ownership rules

FCC proposed in its NPRM, amendments to media ownership rules mainly because of the impact that broadband internet has had on the sector.

FCC Approves AT&T Acquisition of Qualcomm Licenses

FCC has approved the acquisition of all 11 of Qualcomm’s D and E Block licenses
in the Lower 700 MHz band by AT&T.

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to Maltese NRA on its review of the retail fixed access market

the European Commission made the following comments, in its decision, to MCA on the latter's review of the market of access to the public telephone network at a fixed location for residential and nonresidential customers:

"Need to provide all information for the MCA to carry out its task

The Commission notes that the MCA was not able to specify the market shares of all undertakings active in the higher-level and enhanced higher-level access markets. More specifically, the MCA was not able to identify the number of Melita’s multiple line connections in these markets.

The Commission points out that, in accordance with Article 5(1) of the Framework Directive, the Member States shall ensure that operators provide all information necessary for the NRAs to ensure conformity with the EU regulatory framework. While the Commission does not dispute MCA’s finding of SMP on the higher-level and enhanced higher-level access markets where GO’s market share (excluding cable) is very high and cable-based access products are traditionally weak, the Commission invites the MCA to require Melita to supply information on the number of multiple line connections in the future in order to enable the MCA to calculate correct market shares for the next market analysis.
"

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to the Dutch regulator on its review of the wholesale phsyical network infrastrucure access market

The European Commission made the following comment, in its decision, to OPTA on the latter's review of the market for wholesale (physical) network infrastructure access (including shared or fully unbundled access):

"Lack of notification of the full wholesale market for (physical) network infrastructure access (including shared or fully unbundled access) at a fixed location in the Netherlands

The Commission notes that, contrary to OPTA's previously notified draft measures, the relevant product market now excludes ODF FttO access. For the latter OPTA intends to adopt a separate decision containing a full market review and regulatory obligations. The draft ODF-FttO decision has not yet been notified under the Article 7 consultation mechanism.

The Commission points out that in order to come to a consistent evaluation of the wholesale market for physical network infrastructure access in full knowledge of the facts, the market for FttO access should have been notified at the same time. While the Commission does not object to the market definition proposed by OPTA given the specific national circumstances, the exclusion of FttO from the market definition could have been substantiated in a number of respects. OPTA could have provided more information with regard to technical differences between FttH and FttO ODF-access, the technical capacity to deliver higher capacity and quality via MDF, the potential differences in FttH and FttO business plans, and quantitative data on market developments and in particular FttO rollout plans by the different operators active on the ODF-FttO access market.

The Commission urges OPTA to elaborate on the above points in its final version of the currently notified draft measure as well as in its forthcoming draft regulatory measures for the ODF-FttO access market, prior to EU notification.


Absence of a regulated alternative (virtual) product to SDF physical access

OPTA maintains the obligation to provide access at SDF level. However, the Commission notes that KPN has already planned for 2012 the upgrade of the copper network with new technologies such as vectoring, which are at the moment and in near future technically incompatible with SDF access. It is, therefore, likely that the number of cases where KNP considers a request for access at SDF level unreasonable will increase over the review period. Although in these cases the parties could negotiate an alternative (virtual) access product or submit a dispute to OPTA, this procedure seems to lead to a significant degree of uncertainty regarding availability, characteristics, and prices of alternative access products. Moreover, such a complex procedure could have an impact on the timely implementation of new technologies enabling higher speed services delivered over the copper network.

The Commission invites OPTA to consider imposing on KPN a virtual alternative for local access in those locations where SDF access is no longer technically feasible. Virtual alternative for local access should to the greatest possible extent have the same functionality as local loop unbundling.


Price control

OPTA proposes to impose a price control for the existing SDF and MDF access services and corresponding facilities, which corresponds to a safety cap instead of maintaining a pure cost-orientation. OPTA justifies the proposal with the need to guarantee regulatory certainty in the coming regulatory period given that future copper cost levels cannot be accurately predicted.

The Commission has repeatedly held that in order to ensure regulatory certainty for access seekers and, thus, promote efficient investment by all operators, access prices need to be cost-oriented. Even when a tariff ceiling is to certain extent a reasonable approximation of the cost price and contributes to the prevention of excessively high tariffs and margin erosion, it cannot guarantee a proper costorientation of access prices for a period which according to OPTA could last as long as ten years, i.e. far beyond the upcoming regulatory period.

The Commission invites OPTA to reassess in the forthcoming regulatory period if the currently proposed price control measure is still justified. Moreover, given the importance of regulating key wholesale access products in the transition period to NGA networks in an effective and consistent manner across the EU, the Commission carried out a public consultation on costing methodologies for such products. In the light of this, the Commission invites OPTA to review its analysis upon entry into force of any relevant recommendations.
"

EETT launches review of market 6 and old markets 7 and 14

The Greek NRA launched its consultation on the review of the markets of wholesale terminating segments of leased lines, of minimum set of leased lines (which comprises the specified types of leased lines up to and including 2Mb/sec) and that of wholesale trunk segments of leased lines (see the press release, in greek).

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Maltese regulator issues decision notice on the Sub-loop unbundling related aspects of GO’s reference unbundling offer

"The MCA is publishing this decision notice on the Sub-loop unbundling (SLU) related aspects of GO’s reference unbundling offer.

This document follows two public consultations published in April and July 2011 respectively and contains rules and obligations aimed at regulating GO’s Fibre-to-the-Cabinet network transition and its impact on the Company’s SLU wholesale offer.
"

AGCOM concludes its review of the market of mobile call termination

AGCOM has released its review of the market of mobile call termination (see the regulator's relevant page, in italian).

AGCOM releases its new number portability regulation

As mentioned in an older post, AGCOM has approved its new numer portability regime (in italian) under which portability will take place in one day.

ARCEP fines Numericable for not complying with its dispute setllement decision

"In a Decision issued on 4 November 2010, ARCEP settled a dispute between France Telecom and Numericable.

ARCEP had considered that clauses pertaining to the operating modalities, contained in the cable network sales contracts (1) and applied by Numericable when it upgrades these network by deploying new optical fibre cables, should be amended to conform to the clauses applicable to all operators deploying FTTx networks.

This decision, which was upheld by an order issued by the Paris Court of Appeals on 23 June 2011, is currently under appeal before the Court of Cassation. Neither the initial appeal nor the appeal in cassation has a suspensory effect.

Up until the end of November 2011, Numericable had refused to comply with the decision of 4 November 2010, even though it had a compliance deadline of two months.

ARCEP has ascertained that throughout 2011 Numericable consistently refused to comply with the decision of 4 November 2010 – a refusal that extended well beyond the two-month deadline set by this decision. It was not until the end of November 2011 that Numericable agreed to amend the cable network sales contracts, in accordance with the dispute settlement decision.

Failing to comply with an ARCEP dispute settlement decision constitutes a particularly serious breach which warrants a fine of €5 million in cash.

The late compliance, which is due entirely to Numericable, constitutes a violation of public policy in the economic sphere and so a particularly serious breach. As a result, in accordance with Article L. 36-11 of the French Postal and electronic communications code (CPCE), ARCEP has imposed a cash fine of €5 million on Numericable
" (see ARCEP's press release).

OFCOM amends definition of relevant activity of the Statement of Charging Principles

"1.3 Ofcom has amended the definition of Relevant Activity in chapter 4 of the Statement of Charging Principles to:

- the provision of electronic communication services to third parties;

- the provision of electronic communication networks, electronic communication services and network access to communication providers; or

- the making available of associated facilities to communication providers.

1.4 This ensures that the definition is aligned to the Designation
" (see OFCOM's relevant page).

OFCOM's interim statement on DAB coverage planning

OFCOM has issued its interim statement concerning the radio switchover and states it will deliver its final report in the first quarter of 2012.

Ofcom’s decision on changes to the licence exemption of Wireless Telegraphy Devices

"This statement confirms that, following formal consultation, Ofcom has proceeded with proposals to allow some devices to operate without a Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 ('WT Act') licence" (see OFCOM's relevant page).

Changes to OFCOM's wholesale ISDN30 price control consultation and further consultation

OFCOM states that the price control to be imposed from 1 April 2012 should not extend beyond 31 March 2014 in variation to the initial consultation in April which means that the duration of the proposed price control will be less than two years. As a result, a respective revision of the prices should be expected and thus are provided accordingly in this consultation (see OFCOM's relevant page).

Third Polish case on MTRs enters Phase II

The European Commission, in this case concerning "UKE's second proposal to resolve a dispute between AERO2 and TP", made the same comments, in its decision, as in the previous two cases (see here and here) to UKE, deciding to open phase II for this case too (see also older post on BEREC's Opinions on the two previous cases).

Commission issues DAE 2011 Annual Progress Report

The European Commission has issued its Annual Progress Report for 2011 on the Digital Agenda for Europe (see also the pdf on the progress on individual actions).

EP's ITRE Committee endorses Roaming Regulation

The European Parlaiment's ITRE Committee has endorsed the new proposed Roaming Regulation and "backed an amendment proposed by Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee rapporteur Eija-Riita Korhola (EPP,FI), that would require operators to notify customers when they approach a €50 "safety cap" on roaming charges" (see operators' reactions in the Committee's relevant page, the press release and the draft report).

Commission launches consultation on the review of the EU state aid rules for research, development and innovation

The European Commission has launched a consultation on the review of the EU state aid rules for research, development and innovation (R&D&I) (see the Commission's relevant page).

Commission approves creation of a joint venture between HBO and Ziggo in the Netherlands

"The European Commission cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed creation of HBO Nederland Coöperatief U.A., a joint venture to be controlled by Home Box Office Inc of the US and Ziggo B.V. of the Netherlands. The proposed joint venture will develop and operate new pay-TV channels in the Netherlands only. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction will not raise competition concerns on any of the markets concerned; on the contrary, the proposed transaction will increase competition in the acquisition of pay-TV content and in the wholesale of pay-TV channels in the Netherlands" (see the Commission's full press release).

KPN under close supervision by the Dutch regulator

KPN has been set formally under close supervision by OPTA since the latter assumes it is highly likely that the operator violates regulation in place (see OPTA's press release, in Dutch - also its google-ish translation, and telecompaper.com).

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Commission declares France Telecom's scheme for financing the retirement pensions of its public-service employees compatible with state aid rules

The European Commission has declared compatible with EU state aid rules and thus approved, France Telecom's scheme for financing the retirement pensions of its public-service employees. "After in-depth analysis, the Commission has ruled that the scheme for financing the retirement pensions of France Télécom’s public‑service employees has, to date, been compatible with the EU rules on state aid, given that the reduction in pension contributions was offset by a €5.7 billion cash payment from France Télécom to the French State made in 1997. This ruling, however, remains subject to France Télécom bringing the calculation for its contribution fully into line with that of its competitors from July 2012. The decision does not, in any way, affect employee contributions or the level of their retirement pensions" (see the press release).

Commission comes up with new package on services of general economic interest

The European Commission concluded its consultation and came up with a new package on services of general economic interest.

"The new package consists of four instruments that will apply to all authorities (national, regional, local) that grant compensation for the provision of SGEI:

A new Communication, clarifying basic concepts of State aid, which are relevant for SGEI, such as the notions of aid, SGEI, economic activity, convergence between public procurement procedures and absence of aid, etc.

A revised Decision, exempts Member States from the obligation to notify public service compensation for certain SGEI-categories to the Commission. The exemption is extended from hospitals and social housing to a much wider range of social services and a lower compensation threshold applies for triggering notifications for other SGEI activities. The notification threshold was lowered from €30 million to €15 million, taking account of stakeholders’ concerns that the previous ceiling withdrew very sizeable contracts in important areas of the Internal Market from the Commission's scrutiny.

A revised Framework for assessing large compensation amounts granted to operators outside the social services field. Those cases have to be notified to the Commission and may be declared compatible if they meet certain criteria. The new rules introduce, in particular, a more precise methodology to determine the amount of compensation, a requirement for Member States to introduce efficiency incentives in compensation mechanisms, the requirement to comply with EU public procurement rules and equal treatment of providers of the same service for determining compensation. Moreover, the Commission may require Member States to adopt measures to reduce the anticompetitive effects of certain compensations that present a particularly strong potential for distorting competition in the Internal Market.

A new proposal for a de minimis Regulation, providing that compensation below a certain threshold does not fall under state aid scrutiny, is expected to be adopted in the spring of 2012, after a final round of consultation.
" (see the Commission's full press release).

Fourteen cities of the UK eligible to become super-connected

"Fourteen cities across the UK could become super-connected cities, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.

The bidding cities will have to show how they will use the status to drive growth with a particular focus on SMEs and strategic employment zones. BT and Virgin will strengthen their networks in the winning cities to deliver 80-100Mbps broadband speeds.

It follows the Chancellor’s announcement in the autumn statement that up to 10 cities would share £100 million to achieve high speed broadband.

...

The four capitals – London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast – will benefit while the others will be chosen through a competition.

The eight core cities and UK cities that have more than 150,000 dwellings ... are eligible to apply.

...

Guidance for bidders has been published today. Proposals will have to be submitted by 13 February 2012 and the successful cities will be announced in the Budget in March. The four capitals will still need to produce plans detailing their proposals
" (see the full press release).

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to Romanian NRA on its review of the mobile call termination market

The European Commission made the following comments, in its decision, to ANCOM on the latter's review of the mobile call termination market:

"Implementation of cost-efficient symmetrical rates

The Commission notes that ANCOM will finalise the development of its pure LRIC model by the end of 2012. In the interim period price caps are set by reference to a glide path targeted at an international benchmark rate that takes into account the tariffs calculated on the basis of a pure LRIC model in other European Union Member States. ANCOM foresees in its glide path that the benchmarked cost efficient target rate would only be reached in 2014. However, ANCOM states that it will switch to rates based on the pure LRIC cost model when the results of that model become available.

The Commission calls on ANCOM to end the transition phase at the end of 2012 and to implement the identified cost-efficient symmetrical rates already for the year 2013 in order to comply with the Termination Rates Recommendation.

The Commission points out, however, that this may result in a considerable drop in MTRs from the current glide path to the cost-efficient BU-LRIC rate. In view of this the Commission invites ANCOM to reconsider the slope of its current glide path and aim for a cost-efficient target rate to be reached already at the beginning of 2013.
"

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to the Romanian NRA on its review of the fixed call termination market

The European Commission made the following comments, in its decision, to ANCOM on the latter's review of the fixed call termination market:

"Implementation of cost-efficient symmetrical rates

The Commission notes that ANCOM will finalise the development of its pure LRIC model by the end of 2012. In the interim period price caps are set by reference to a glide path targeted at an international benchmark rate that takes into account the tariffs calculated on the basis of a pure LRIC model in other European Union Member States. ANCOM foresees in its glide path that the benchmarked cost efficient target rate would only be reached in 2014. However, ANCOM states that it will switch to rates based on the pure LRIC cost model when the results of that model become available.

The Commission calls on ANCOM to end the transition phase at the end of 2012 and to implement the identified cost-efficient symmetrical rates already for the year 2013 in order to comply with the Termination Rates Recommendation.

The Commission points out, however, that this may result in a considerable drop in FTRs from the current glide path to the cost-efficient BU-LRIC rate. In view of this the Commission invites ANCOM to reconsider the slope of its current glide path and aim for a cost-efficient target rate to be reached already at the beginning of 2013.
"

ComReg updates Ireland's Radio Frequency Plan

The Irish regulator updated Ireland's Radio Frequency Plan (see the press release).

EU signs ACTA

EU signs ACTA (see page 41 of the Council's press release).

EU signs CoE's conditional access Convention

The EU has signed the European Convention on the Legal Protection of Services based on, or consisting of, Conditional Access. Conclusion of the agreement is necessary for entering into force (see the Council's Decision and the Convention).

AT&T ends bid for T-Mobile

AT&T announced its has dropped its bid for T-Mobile. See DOJ's press release and Genachowski statement as well.

Monday, 19 December 2011

OFCOM issues Guidelines on the use of battery back-up to protect lifeline services delivered using fibre optic technology

OFCOM issues Guidelines on the use of battery back-up to protect lifeline services delivered using fibre optic technology.

Novell/Microsoft case ends without verdict

Novell's case against Microsoft ended in mistrial, since the jury did not come to a unanimous decision (source: law360.com).

BEREC launches series of consultations and issues series of Guidelines and Opinions

BEREC has launched the following consultations:

- Draft midterm strategy outlook.

- Draft Report on broadband promotion.

- Draft Report on the impact of fixed-mobile substitution in market definition.

- Draft Report on co-investment and SMP in NGA networks.

- Draft Report on PRS.

BEREC has issued its 2012 Work Programme.

BEREC has issued the following Opinions - Guidelines - Reports:

- Overview of remedies and European Commission Comments Letters

- Guidelines on Transparency in the scope of Net Neutrality: Best practices and recommended approaches.

- A framework for Quality of Service in the scope of Net Neutrality.

- Report on the impact of administrative requirements on the provision of transnational business electronic communication services.

Directive 2011/92/EU on child sex abuse, sexual exploitation and pornography published in the OJ

Directive 2011/92/EU on child sex abuse, sexual exploitation and pornography published in the OJ. See article 25 on website blocking.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to the Dutch regulator on its review of the retail market for TV services

The European Commission, had no comments to make, in its decision, to OPTA, on the latter's finding that the retail market for TV services did not meet the three criteria test and thus concluded that the market should not be regulated ex ante.

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to the Hungarian NRA on its review of the market for the minimum set of leased lines in Hungary

The European Commission, had no comments to make, in its decision, to NMHH, on the latter's review of the market for the minimum set of leased lines in Hungary under which it found that the market did not meet the three criteria test and thus proposed to withdraw existing ex ante regulation.

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to the Hungarian NRA on its review of the wholesale market for terminating segments of leased lines

The European Commission, made the following comments, in its decision, to NMHH on the latter's review of the wholesale market for terminating segments of leased lines, according to which it split the market into that of low and that of high bandwith and deemed that the three criteriam were only met by the first one:

"Inadequate evidence to support proposed market delineation

Whilst the Commission does not, in principle, object to the proposed split of the market for wholesale terminating segments of leased lines into low and higher bandwidth sub-markets, the Commission is concerned that the proposed market delineation is not supported by adequate evidence to justify this proposal on a forward looking basis. The market data cited in NMHH's analysis is over two years old and merely relates to summary figures of volume and revenue shares for the main operators. The Commission notes, for example, that NMHH failed to include in its analysis the results of an adequate substitutability test for the market in question, which could further justify the proposed market delineation.

The Commission, therefore, urges NMHH to further substantiate, in its final measure, its decision to split the market for wholesale terminating segments of leased lines into a low and a higher bandwidth sub-market with more up-to-date market information. The Commission also invites NMHH, in particular, to ensure that the proposed market delineation is based on an adequate substitutability analysis.


Inadequate evidence to support findings regarding the three criteria test and its
assessment of SMP


Again, whilst not objecting, in principle, with the proposed approach, the Commission harbours similar concerns in relation to NMHH's conclusions that (i) there is no need for ex ante regulation in the higher bandwidth market and (ii) that MT has SMP in the low bandwidth market. In both cases, NMHH bases its findings largely on market data from 2008 and 2009, which the Commission considers does not reflect the required forward look of the necessary analysis, in particular in a fast moving market for electronic communications. Furthermore, the declining market shares of MT, as well as the market shares of alternative operators, which after significant increases in recent years remain fairly stable (about […]% in terms of revenue, […]% in terms of volume), do not seem to be consistent with the alleged structural barriers to entry identified by NMHH on the low bandwidth market and its finding of SMP for MT.

The Commission urges NMHH to present, in its final measures, more up-to-date market figures, which can further substantiate its conclusion that the higher bandwidth market segment is not susceptible to ex ante regulation and that in the low bandwidth segment MT, indeed, is an undertaking with SMP.
"

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to the Danish NRA on its review of the price control remedy

The European Commission, in its decision, made the following comments to the Danish NRA on the latter's update of the LRAIC model (which concerned in particular (i) the equipment prices, (ii) the salary expenses, (iii) the productivity trend and (iv) the traffic and volume forecasts and also a new weighted average cost of capital (WACC) being calculated) and lastly its proposal "to set the respective maximum wholesale charges for (i) fixed call origination (Market 2); (ii) fixed call termination (Market 3); (iii) unbundled access to the copper local loops and sub-loops (Market 4); (iv) bitstream service on copper, fibre and cable networks (market 5); (v) co-location (market 3, 4 and 5) and other related accessory services. The update of the LRAIC model concerns particularly ":

"Consistency of prices

Wholesale charges should normally be set at a level that gives operators the correct signals to invest and promote infrastructure based competition where it is feasible. In the present case the Commission observes that: (i) wholesale charges for LLU proposed by the Danish Telecommunications Authority are higher than those for copper bitstream at the layer 1 (at the DSLAM), (ii) the differences between the prices for copper and fibre bitstream services are very high. For example, by considering only the line-related costs (i.e. excluding the capacity-related costs) the costs of fibre bitstream corresponding to the DONG area and the rest of the country are 70% and 130%, respectively, higher than the copper bitstream at the highest network level (i.e. layer 3).

As far as the price differential between copper LLU and bitstream services is concerned the Commission points out that a consistent application of the cost model should normally result in higher charges for services with higher costs and, moreover a sufficient economic space should exist between the two services so that alternative operators are incentivised to invest in further network roll-out and profitably unbundle the local loop.

As far as the price differential between copper and fibre bitstream is concerned the Commission acknowledges that the low level of penetration at the early stages of fibre roll-out could yield higher unit costs and NRAs should normally take into account the additional and quantifiable investment risk incurred by the operator investing in fibre NGA networks. At the same time costing models could be devised which help to avoid such short term volume effects and help to stabilise next generation access prices over a longer time period (on the basis of prudent projections) and consequently promote uptake of fibre based broadband products at retail level.

Given the importance of regulating key wholesale access products in the transition period to NGA networks in an effective and consistent manner across the EU the Commission launched a public consultation on costing methodologies for such products. In the light of this, the Commission invites the Danish Telecommunications Authority to review its analysis upon entry into force of any relevant recommendations
".

Draft plans for rolling-out superfast broadband need to be submitted by local authorities to the UK Government by the end of February

"The Government published its strategy for rolling-out broadband in rural areas in December last year and announced how much funding had been allocated to each area in August this year.

Local authorities now have until the end of February next year to submit a draft Local Broadband Plan.

A final plan needs to be agreed with the Government by the end of April. The local authority will need to have match-funding in place with this money coming from their budgets, European programmes or any other source.

The Government cannot guarantee funding will remain available to areas that cannot complete this process by the end of April. The £530m has to be used within the Spending Review period so if projects are not ready in time, the funding may be used elsewhere to help provide the UK with the best broadband network in Europe by 2015.

Once the plans have been approved, the Government will work with local authorities as they prepare for procurement and this work should be completed within a further three months.

The Government will consider running a national procurement for areas not ready by the end of July
" (see DCMS' full press release).

Clearance of merger between Liberty and Kabel BW subject to conditions and obligations by the Bundeskartellamt

"the Bundeskartellamt has cleared the acquisition of the cable network operator Kabel Baden-Württemberg by Liberty Global Europe Holding subject to conditions and obligations. Liberty undertakes to grant special termination rights for large contracts for retail TV services and to end its encryption of digital free TV programmes. The company has also agreed to forgo certain exclusivity clauses and ownership claims or rights to dismantle household cable connections" (see the German Authority's full press release).

French Competition Authority issues Recommendations to National Frequency Agency to foster competition in the mobile market

The French Competition Authority, issued Recommendations to the National Frequency Agency, in view of the fact that this Agency will disperse information concerning base stations between operators so that the latter will finally posses info of their competititors' infratsrucure. The Authority, expressed its concern on the perspective that mobile operators adapt their strategy based on these info and not as if acting indendently (maybe a factor of facilitation of tacit collusion as well?). The Competition Authority expressed its concern also on the potential creation of barriers as against new entrants or prospective entrants since they will not have in their possession the vast amount of info that the other well established operators will have.

The Authority recommends thus to the Frequency Agency to:

- Limit the ability of each operator to access critical information from its competitors,

- Enable new entrants to access the same information, and

- Balance-public information with these concerns.

ComReg endorses Eircom's RIO

"The Commission for Communications Regulation (‘ComReg’) welcomes the latest update by Eircom Ltd. (‘Eircom’) of the Reference Interconnect Offer (‘RIO’) price list relating to interconnection rates for the period from 1 July 2012.

This update will adjust Call Origination and Call Termination interconnection rates downwards by 5% on average from 1 July 2012.

Given the past reductions of 15% since early 2010, this further reduction will give a total average saving of 20% on Call Origination and Call Termination rates over the past two years.
"

Swedish NRA issues Orientation plan for spectrum management

"PTS presents how the Authority is to assign spectrum in the years ahead in its ‘Orientation plan for spectrum management’. The purpose of the Orientation Plan is to increase transparency and thus give market stakeholders better opportunities to plan their investments" (see PTS' relevant page).

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Italian Competition Authority approves DMT/ELETTRONICA INDUSTRIALE concentration with conditions

DMT has assumed the undertakings imposed by AGCM so that its acquisition by ELETTRONICA INDUSTRIALE (Mediaset Group) proceeds. DMT will have to comply with a non-discrimination obligation, amongst other (see the Authority's relevant page).

ECA issues special report No 15/2011 on whether the Commission’s procedures ensure effective management of state aid control

"The audit focused on the organization, decision-making and monitoring processes of the Commission during the period between 2008 - 2010, but did not assess the validity of the decisions taken by the Commission. The audit covered the areas of State aid control for which Commission’s DG Competition is responsible, i.e. all economic sectors except agriculture and fisheries.

The Court found that:

- the Commission has made efforts to ensure that all relevant State aid cases are handled, but its systems do not guarantee that all aid is captured;

- the notification procedures for State aid take a long time;

- complaints continue to take a long time to resolve and the procedure is not transparent;

- the Commission does not assess the impact of its State aid control in a comprehensive way;

- in the field of State aid the Commission reacted promptly to the financial crisis.

The ECA makes a series of recommendations to improve the Commission’s procedures and management effectiveness: to review the allocation of resources devoted to State aid control; to increase the transparency of case-handling procedures; to shorten the duration of the procedures; to implement an enhanced system of time recording and management reporting; and to regularly assess the ex post impact of State aid control
" (see the Commission's full press release).

Art. 29 WP's Opinion 16/2011 on EASA/IAB Best Practice Recommendation on Online Behavioural Advertising

Art. 29 WP has released its Opinion 16/2011 on the industry body's, EASA/IAB, Best Practice Recommendation on Online Behavioural Advertising.

Dispute between Cable & Wireless and BT about BT’s charges for Ethernet services

OFCOM has undertaken to resolve the dispute between Cable & Wireless and BT about BT’s charges for Ethernet services. "This dispute concerns the charges set by Openreach (a BT Group business) for WES and BES services. CWW alleges that the charges levied by BT between 1 April 2006 and 31 March 2011 were too high and were not cost orientated. CWW claims that it has significantly overpaid BT for these services and that BT should reimburse the amounts overcharged" (see OFCOM's relevant page).

ARCEP receives four applications for 4G licences in the 800 MHz band

"ARCEP has received applications from Bouygues Telecom, Free Fréquences, Orange France and SFR for 4G licences in the 800 MHz band" (see the press release).

ICO issues updated "cookie guidance"

UK's privacy watchdog updated its guidance on use of cookies (see the relative page).

Arqiva Reference Offers for DTT multiplexes in 600MHz spectrum

OFCOM announced that Arqiva's ROs for DTT multiplexes in 600MHz spectrum are now available, an obligation which comes "as a result of Undertakings given to the Competition Commission in 2008 following the acquisition of National Grid Wireless by Arqiva's parent company, Macquarie UK Broadcast Holdings Ltd" (see OFCOM relative page).

AGCOM consults on IP interconnection cost model

The Italian regulator after releasing its decision on the transition to IP interconnection, launched a consultation regarding the relative cost model.

Industry addresses recommendations to the Commission on cloud computing

Industry leaders have put up a list of recommendations and relative actions addressed to the European Commission concerning the necessity for the Commission to confront the top issues raised in the cloud computing area. The Commission has also released its report on the responses received wihtin the ambit of its consultation on cloud computing.

AG delivers Opinion in Football Dataco case, concerning legal protection of databases

AG Mengozzi concluded in his Opinion in the Football Dataco case:

"(1) A database can be protected by copyright, for the purposes of Article 3 of Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases only if it is an original intellectual creation of its author. For the purpose of that assessment, the activities involved in the creation of the data cannot be taken into account. In the case of a football fixture list, the determination of all the elements relating to each single match is a data creation activity.

(2) Directive 96/9 precludes national law from conferring copyright protection upon a database which does not meet the requirements laid down in Article 3 of the Directive itself
".

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Polkomtel, Internetq Poland fined by UKE for unfair commercial practices

Polkomtel, Internetq Poland fined by UKE for unfair commercial practices (see UKE's press release).

Results of Portuguese multi-band spectrum auction

See ANACOM's press release on the results of the multi-band auction.

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to the Maltese NRA's modification of remedies in market 4

The European Commission, in its decision, made the following comments to MCA on the latter's modification of remedies in market 4:

"Imposition of temporary virtual access and need for a market review

The Commission welcomes the MCA’s proposed migration rules which, in line with the NGA Recommendation, put in place a transparent framework enabling ANOs to receive in good time all the necessary information on the SMP operator’s network upgrades and exchange decommissioning, thus providing them with the means to adjust their own networks accordingly.

The Commission also welcomes, in principle, the imposition of TVA, an interim remedy which could ensure that the upgrade of GO’s network does not lead to stranded investments by ANOs. The Commission is nevertheless concerned that such a remedy will be imposed, at least for a period of nine months, over an FTTC network, whereas the relevant product market 4, as defined in 2007, currently excludes fibre-based access products.

The Commission therefore invites the MCA to clarify in its final measure that imposing TVA is necessary, in order to render the overall regulation effective, and also to proceed with its full review of the wholesale infrastructure access market as soon as possible and carefully to justify the scope and duration of the TVA remedy once the relevant product market has been properly assessed.

In this respect, the Commission also invites the MCA, in the forthcoming review of market 4, to assess the need to impose TVA as a permanent virtual access product, should the remedies currently imposed, namely the SLU obligation, not prove sufficient to address the competition problems identified in the market.

The Commission also recalls that, in accordance with recital 30 and recommends 29 and 30 in the NGA Recommendation, whenever the SMP operator is rolling out FTTC, the NRA should impose an SLU remedy which is to be supplemented by appropriate backhaul (e.g. fibre and Ethernet backhaul) and ancillary remedies, in order to render the remedy effective. The Commission therefore invites the MCA to ensure that the SLU obligation, which will remain in place after the upgrade to FTTC has been carried out, is properly supplemented by adequate backhaul
".

AGCOM has made public its Regulations regarding IP interconnection and interoperability to provide VOIP service

Since the Italian NRA decided that interconnection shall migrate from 1 January 2013 to IP interconnection only, it has come up with regulations (in italian) regarding IP interconnection and interoperability to provide VOIP service.

ARCEP launches new consultation on its mobile call termination rates regulation setting asymmetric MTRs on new entrants

"Following the public consultation ran from 8 September to 10 October 2011, and the opinion issued by the National Competition Authority, ARCEP is launching a new public consultation on its draft market analysis of wholesale mobile call termination rates for Free Mobile, Lycamobile and Oméa Télécom" (see ARCEP's press release and a post on the French NCA's Opinion).

Free Mobile complies with its 3g license coverage obligation

ARCEP verified that Free Mobile complies with its 3g license coverage obligation (see the French NRA's press release ).

RSPP one step from completion

The Council endorsed in its first reading the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme which is expected to come into force after the European Parliament's plenary in February 2012 (see the results of the Council's meeting).

Council conclusions on the open internet and net neutrality in Europe

The Council, in its relative conclusions, shares the Commission's approach to net neutrality and indicates its intent to mandate regulatory intervention if deemed necessary.

Commission invites comments on commitments offered by Thomson Reuters

"The European Commission invites comments on commitments offered by Thomson Reuters to address concerns that its licensing practices in relation to the Reuters Instrument Codes (RICs) may be in breach of EU antitrust rules" (see the Commission's press release).

IBM case closed. Commitments made legally binding.

"The European Commission has made legally binding commitments offered by International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in the mainframe maintenance market. IBM commits to make spare parts and technical information swiftly available, under commercially reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, to independent mainframe maintainers" (see the Commission's press release).

Judge stays proceedings on the AT&T/T-Mobile case till 18 January 2012

A stay of the proceedings in the disputed AT&T/T-Mobile merger, as requested by both parties, was ordered till 28 January 2012.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

French Competition Authority endorses ARCEP's draft decision to impose asymmetric MTRs on Free mobile

The French Competition Authority endorses in its Opinion the French regualtors's draft decision to impose asymmetric MTRs in favour of Free mobile since the latter is a new entrant, in a move to assist its establishment in the market.

Commission launches net neutrality questionnaire

the European Commission has released a questionnaire and instuctions to respondents in relation to net neutrality issues.

Commission issues Decision on harmonisation of radio spectrum for use by short-range devices

The Euroepan Commission's implementing Decision on the harmonisation of the radio spectrum for use by short-range devices was published in the OJ.

Monday, 12 December 2011

BEREC's Opinion on the Polish MTRs cases

BEREC delivered, as obliged under the new Framework Directive, its Opinions (see here and here) concerning the two Polish MTRs cases which entered phase II and endorsed in general the Commission's views against the lack of legally binding MTRs (see relevant post) and the set of different "MTRs" on a single operator (see relevant post) by the Polish regulator.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Greek Ministry's Secretary announces that the FttH project has not been abandoned

The General Secretary of Communications of the Ministry of Infrastrucure and Networks announced (in greek) that the FttH project has not been abandoned and proceeds as planned. The statement was made within the ambit of the interview given by the Minister as regards the draft law on postal regulation and the licensing of base stations (see the related post).

The Secretary, shared in addition, the information that the solution foreseen is to have FttH in the two major cities (Athens and Salonica) and for the other 68 major cities exploit the infrastrucure of MANs to deliver a fibre-based product. He noted also that the project for the take up of MANs has been given the green light by the Commission.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

OFCOM publishes draft Annual Plan

UK's regulator has issued its draft Annual Plan.

CJEU decides on France Telecom case and dismisses its appeal

The Court dismissed through its judgment FT's appeal of the General Court's decision which affirmed the Commmission's decision which in turn found that the aid given to FT by the French State violated EC State Aid rules.

Italian NRA announces approval of new number portability regime

AGCOM has announced its approval of the new number portability regime under which the timeframe is reduced to 1 day.

Amendments to Polish Act on PRS enter into force

"The new provisions specify, inter alia, information obligations imposed on providers of Premium Rate services. Among others, it is about how customers are informed about price of SMS or voice calls and how this information is presented in advertisements" (see Polish regulator's press releases).

UK Communications Review responses available

DCMS has made available the non-confidential responses received to its consultation on the review to be undertaken of the whole Communications legal regime.

Greek Ministry announces draft law on base stations licensing

The Greek Ministry of Infrastrucure and Networks, announced it will introduce a draft law to the Parliament for vote next week, under which a procedure to accelerate the licensing of base stations is foreseen, in a move to foster investments and certainty in the sector (see the Ministry's press release, in greek). More information will be provided when the draft law goes public.

Commission approves Go Daddy acquisition by KKR/Silver Lake

The European Commission did not oppose the acquisition of the Go Dady Group by KKR and Silver Lake (see the OJ).

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Commission opens formal proceedings to investigate sales of e-books

"The European Commission has opened formal antitrust proceedings to investigate whether international publishers Hachette Livre (Lagardère Publishing, France), Harper Collins (News Corp., USA), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., USA), Penguin (Pearson Group, United Kingdom) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany) have, possibly with the help of Apple, engaged in anti-competitive practices affecting the sale of e-books in the European Economic Area (EEA), in breach of EU antitrust rules. The opening of proceedings means that the Commission will treat the case as a matter of priority. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation" (see the Commission's full press release).

RSPG consults on spectrum review and bilateral assistance

The European Radio Spectrum Policy Group launched two consultations. The one regards its review of spectrum use and the other one regards its assistance in bilateral negotiations with third countries and between EU countries.

Commission consults on technology transfer block exemption regulation and guidelines

The European Commission launched its consultation on the review of TTBER and the accompanying Guidelines (see the relevant page).

Notification to the Commission of the Google/Motorola Mobility concentration

"... the Commission received a notification of a proposed concentration pursuant to Article 4 of Council Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 by which Google Inc. (‘Google’, USA), acquires, within the meaning of Article 3(1)(b) of the Merger Regulation, sole control over Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. (‘Motorola Mobility’, USA) by way of purchase of shares" (see the OJ).

Monday, 5 December 2011

ComReg consults on the Licensing Framework for VHF and UHF Telemetry Systems

"Demand for spectrum by telemetry users has increased in recent years, mainly from utility operators (electricity, gas, water supply etc.) and also from the manufacturing and food and beverage production industries".

The Irish NRA, consults, thus, "on a range of proposals to establish a new licensing framework for scanning telemetry and telecontrol systems in the VHF and UHF spectrum bands".

ANACOM issues 2010 Regulatory Report

The Portuguese NRA issued its Regulatory Report for 2010. Valuable overview of the regulatory developments in Portugal and a nice tool for those at the Commission that will put together the Portuguese chapter of the 2011 Scoreboard...

Maltese regulator issues Must-Carry Obligations Guidelines

MCA issued its final Must-Carry Obligations Guidelines.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Romanian regulator reviews spectrum pricing

The draft decision's main amendment is that "the tariff owed by each operator using the frequency bands will be issued subsequently to the usage period, respectively annually or quarterly, and not at the beginning of this period, as currently... ANCOM also removes the half-yearly payments and establishes that the tariffs are to be paid only quarterly or annually.

The new provisions are to be implemented in 2012. This means that the individual decisions on the quarterly payment of the due fee, for the first quarter of the following year, will be issued in March 2012. As for the tariffs to be charged annually, the individual decisions on the payment of the spectrum fee for 2012 are to be issued in December 2012
" (see ANCOM's full press release).

ANCOM consults on the new methodology on the elaboration by Romtelecom of the accounting separation within the internal cost accounting system

"In its capacity as a provider designated as having significant power on several markets, Romtelecom has to observe the obligation to keep separate accounts with a view to ensure a high level of transparency concerning costs and tariffs. The accounting separation obligation will offer ANCOM the necessary support for monitoring the compliance with the non-discrimination obligation, since this obligation emphasizes in a transparent manner the tariffs charged on the wholesale markets and the internal transfer prices, as well as the possible occurrence of competition deficiencies related to cross-subsidization, predatory pricing etc.

...

Following the second round of market analyses undertaken by ANCOM, Romtelecom was designated, in 2010, as a provider with significant power on the market of access to the public telephone networks provided at a fixed location. However, the operator was not identified as having significant power on the market of voice services provided at a fixed location and thus the separate accounting and the price control obligations were removed.

It is therefore necessary to adopt a new accounting separation regulation to be observed by Romtelecom in order to reflect that it is no longer justified for Romtelecom to provide information concerning the markets where the separate accounting obligation previously imposed on the operator was removed, on the one hand, and to emphasize the need to improve, as quality is concerned, the information presented in the separated financial statements, on the other hand.

Romtelecom will concomitantly provide the Authority with the necessary details upon the explicit imposition of certain obligations, such as ensuring that the existing margins between the tariffs for its own retail business and the tariffs charged on the wholesale markets are sufficient. Furthermore, according to the new methodology, Romtelecom will submit to the Authority additional information on the adoption of the new technologies and on the allocation of the due costs, revenues and capital engaged
" (see ANCOM's full press release: http://www.ancom.org.ro/en/december-2-2011_4650 ).

Romanian regulator to Tender the Frequencies of Orange, Vodafone and Cosmote by End-2013

"ANCOM has announced ... the intention to organise, by end-2013, a tender for the entire frequency spectrum which is to become available in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands, and to extend the validity of the rights of use held by Orange Romania and Vodafone Romania until the awarding of the new licences. The new rights of use are to become effective as of 6 April 2014, when the rights held by Cosmote in these bands also expire.

Today, the Authority has published for consultation a draft decision on this matter, which also provides that, until 31 December 2012, Orange Romania and Vodafone Romania will have the obligation to release a cumulated sub-band of 2x5 MHz bandwidth from the 900 MHz band, as this will not affect the continuity of the services provided by the two operators.

The spectrum thus released will be allocated in 2012, through a selection procedure. This measure was identified as remedy following the studyregarding the impact the use of the 900 MHz frequency band for the supply of third generation electronic communication services using UMTS systems will have on the mobile communication market competition. The study showed that RCS&RDS is in a competitive disadvantage as opposed to the operators that hold spectrum in the 900 MHz band. The analyses conducted by the Authority and the consultations with the industry also showed that this is the most appropriate remedy to create a level playing field for all the undertakings on the mobile market
" (see ANCOM's full press release).

BIPT imposes a EUR 250,000 fine on Telenet

"BIPT imposes a EUR 250,000 fine on Telenet for neglecting to correctly inform subscribers individually of the possibility to cancel their contract without charges in case of changes to the general terms and conditions" (see BIPT's press release).

BIPT issued its decision on use of UMTS and LTE in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2GHz

BIPT issued its decision (in french) on use of UMTS and LTE in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2GHz.

BIPT's decision on the repartition of spectrum between different mobile operators in the frequency bands of 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2GHz

BIPT issued its decision on the repartition of spectrum between different mobile operators in the frequency bands of 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2GHz which will last up until 26 November 2015 (see BIPT's press release, in french).

Bundeskartellamt institutes cartel proceedings to examine video-on-demand platform of public service broadcasters

"Subsidiaries of ZDF and several (regional) ARD channels, as well as several TV production companies, had notified the Bundeskartellamt of plans to create a joint venture to offer video-on-demand services".

Bundeskartellamt announced it cleared the project under merger control proceedings but had to initiate cartel examination proceedings since the "project gives cause for concerns that it might violate the general ban on cartels" (see the NCAs full press release: http://www.bundeskartellamt.de/wEnglisch/News/press/2011_11_28.php ).

Bulgarian NRA auctions 1 frequency block of 42 MHz in the 3,5 GHz range

"With its Decision No 1067 of 22 November 2011 , the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) announced an auction with negotiated bidding for granting an authorization for use of individually assigned scarce resource – radio frequency spectrum for the carrying out electronic communications through a network for broadband wireless access (BWA), using individually assigned scarce resource of radio frequency spectrum – 1 frequency block of 42 MHz in the 3,5 GHz range for a period of 10 (ten) years.

...

Applications for participation in the auction can be submitted to CRC until 17:00 h. on 17th January 2012
" (see CRC's full press release: http://www.crc.bg/news.php?news_id=174&lang=en ).

OFCOM decides to grant BT with an exemption to EOI on 20CN DSLAMs

"Currently, BT Wholesale employs non-EOI processes and products in support of some of its 20CN DSLAM installations in BT Exchanges. Specifically, for DSLAMs installed before June 2007, BT Wholesale does not use an HDF between its own DSLAM and the MDF and does not use the same tie-cables to connect its DSLAM to the MDF as are used by other CPs. BT does so pursuant to an exemption from the EOI requirements agreed by Ofcom under the Undertakings. Since 30 June 2007, all new DSLAMs belonging to all CPs, including BT Wholesale, have been connected to the MDF using the EOI HDF/LLU internal tie cable product.

...

Since the exemption was granted in 2006, BT’s plans to move services to 21CN have changed and although it remains BT’s intention to extend the WBC footprint as far as commercially viable, current plans do not extend to the whole of the UK. In addition,
even where BT has made WBC available, the choice to migrate from IPStream to WBC has been a commercial decision for ISPs and therefore not under BT’s direct control(Note however that BT has announced the retirement of 20CN products by June 2014 in exchanges where WBC is available).

Therefore, as 20CN DSLAMs will remain in service beyond 2011, BT has requested that part of this exemption, which expires on 31 December 2011, is made permanent. Whilst demand for 20CN services will diminish where BT deploys 21CN MSANs so that the need to expand DSLAMs is reduced, in those exchanges where 21CN is not deployed, 20CN DSLAMs may need to be expanded to support continued customer and/or traffic growth
".

OFCOM came thus to the decision to extend the variation and make it permanent.

OFCOM's proposals to extend spectrum trading to the Maritime and Satellite Earth Station sectors

OFCOM proposes "to extend spectrum trading to the Maritime and Satellite Earth Station sectors. Spectrum trading enables a licensee to buy or sell all or part of their rights to use spectrum through a transfer of these rights under the Wireless Telegraphy (Spectrum Trading) Regulations 2004 (the '2004 Trading Regulations').

...The extension of trading to these sectors is the next step in ... programme to roll out the ability to trade across our licence products. Since spectrum trading was introduced in 2004 for Fixed Links and some Business Radio licence classes, approximately 90,000 licences can now be transferred
" (see OFCOM's relevant page: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/transfer-maritime-satellite/summary ).

Greek Competition Authority issues Opinion in OTE's complaint against Multichoice

The Greek NCA issued its Opinion under which it deems that the exclusive satellite broadcast agreement, signed between Greek private channels and the satellite operator, Multichoice, violates art. 101 and 102 TFEU. ΟΤΕ, which launched just two months ago its satellite bouquet, filled a complaint against this agreement. The reason was that it was barred from carrying the abovementioned private channels in its platfrom. The plenary of the Greek NCA will sit to examine the case on 3 February 2012 (see the Greek NCA's press release, in greek).

Greek NRA signals "116" numbers are available

EETT, announced to all stakeholders interested, that the "116" numbers are available, so that services for the intended purposes are deployed, according to the Commission's Decision 2007/116/EC.

EETT approves OTE's vdsl wholesale prices

After the Greek NRA issued its review of the relative markets, under which it imposed on OTE the obligation to offer the vdsl wholesale product to alternative operators, it approved yesterday in its plenary meeting the incumbent's wholesale prices. The decision of the NRA marks the start of the 6 month awaiting period for the commercial launch of the vdsl product, wherever this is technical feasible. The full text of the NRA's decision sould be available in the coming days (see EETT's press release).

Thursday, 1 December 2011

OFCOM issues final Regulations on the grant of Recognised Spectrum Access to Receive Only Earth Stations in specific bands.

OFCOM issued its decision to make final "the Regulations for Recognised Spectrum Access (RSA) for Receive Only Earth Stations in the Bands 1690 - 1710 MHz, 3600 - 4200 MHz, and 7750 - 7850 MHz.

...

The Regulations provide for:

- the circumstances of use of grants of RSA for ROES;

- the criteria to be applied when considering a grant of RSA for ROES;

- the appropriate fee for a grant of RSA for ROES at a specific site;

- trading of a grant of RSA for ROES;

- publication of the location and required protection level of a grant for RSA for ROES in the WT Register

They will come into force on 12 December 2011
" (see OFCOM's relevant page: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/rsa-earth-stations/rsa-statement/ ).

Companies form coalition on a safer internet for children

"The founding Coalition members have agreed a Statement of Purpose agreeing to take action in five areas:

- Simple and robust reporting tools: easy-to-find and recognisable features on all devices to enable effective reporting and responses to content and contacts that seem harmful to kids;

- Age-appropriate privacy settings: settings which take account of the needs of different age groups (such settings determine how widely available a user's information is; for example whether contact details or photos are available only to close contacts rather than to the general public);

- Wider use of content classification: to develop a generally valid approach to age-rating, which could be used across sectors and provide parents with understandable age categories;

- Wider availability and use of parental control: user-friendly tools actively promoted to achieve the widest possible take-up;

- Effective takedown of child abuse material: to improve cooperation with law enforcement and hotlines, to take proactive steps to remove child sexual abuse material from the internet
" (see the Commission's press release and page).

FCC lets AT&T withdraw

The FCC in its order, decided to make public its Staff's analysis on why the merger should be blocked but concluded that AT&T could withdraw its pending applications. The Authority will however stay alert to re-open the case since there is still apparent interest of AT&T in acquiring T-mobile.