Wednesday, 29 February 2012

US Congress giving the FCC authority to conduct voluntary incentive spectrum auctions

Since President Obama signed into law the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation
Act of 2012, teh FCC is authorized to conduct incentive auctions that will purpotedly address the demand for spectrum (for thoughts on the issue, see cnet.com and commlawblog and Commissioner Clyburn's statement).

Greek law encompassing provisions of the new base station licensing regime approved

The Hellenic Parliament has approved the new law (in greek), providing amongst other, for the new base station licensing regime which will purpotedly speed up the whole procedure.

EP's ITRE Committee passes Roaming III Regulation with lower caps

A few days after Vodafone's call for relaxation of roaming ex ante regulation and Kroes' rejection of such an eventuality, the European Parliament's ITRE Committee has endorsed the Commission's proposed Roaming III Regulation. In fact, it has even proposed the setting of lower caps (see ITRE Committee's relevant page and the press release).

ARCEP verifies operators' compliance with coverage obligations

The French regulator verified operators' compliance with coverage obligations including Free mobile's, in relation to which, an issue had arisen the past few months (see ARCEP's press release).

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

French DPA finds at preliminary stage and on Art. 29 WP's behalf that Google Privacy Policy fails EU standards

CNIL found at the preliminary stage of its analysis, endorsed by and Art. 29 WP, that Google's Privacy Policy fails EU Data Protection Directive (see the letter addressed to Google).

Italian NRA consults on TI's offers on fixed call origination, termination and transmission services

AGCOM launched its consultation on Telecom Italia's reference offers on first,fixed call origination, termination and transmission services (see respective page, in italian) and second, on transmission services as regards dedicated lines (see respective page, in italian).

Portuguese NRA issues draft decision on the procedures to be followed in the assessment of quality of service of regulated wholesale offers

Portuguese NRA issued its draft decision and launched the respective consultation on the procedures to be followed in the assessment of quality of service of regulated wholesale offers (see the press release).

UK PRS regulator issues Guidance on app based payments

PhonepayPlus has issued its Guidance on application based payments setting "out clear guidelines for providers of mobile applications using premium rate payments" (see the respective page).

Belgian NRA consults on Belgacom's Reference Offers

BIPT has made public and conducts its consultation on Belgacom's Reference Offers on WBA (VDSL2), Bitstream Access and Unbundling (here and here).

Friday, 24 February 2012

Cable Europe & ZVEI Joint Statement on “Coexistence”

"Cable Europe and ZVEI -German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers´ Association call on the European Commission to ensure that any second Digital Dividend gained from potential spectrum reallocations in the 700MHz band ensures practical coexistence between new mobile services and the existing equipment and services already providing European consumers and business with connectivity" (see the full press release).

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Leading IT firms commit to strengthen privacy protections for users of mobile applications

"Attorney General Harris forged the agreement with six companies whose platforms comprise the majority of the mobile apps market: Amazon, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Research In Motion. These platforms have agreed to privacy principles designed to bring the industry in line with a California law requiring mobile apps that collect personal information to have a privacy policy. The majority of mobile apps sold today do not contain a privacy policy" (see State of Califfornia's DoJ press release).

Greek NRA approves its 2012 price control on the incumbent for 2012

EETT has approved its 2012 price control on OTE for 2012, including amongst other, its price control on the vdsl product (see EETT's press release, in greek).

OFCOM issues provisional determination on the cable & wireless/BT dispute regarding ethernet service's charges

OFCOM has issued its provisional determination on the cable & wireless/BT dispute regarding ethernet service's charges. "There are overlaps between this dispute and the Disputes between BT and each of Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media about BT charges for Ethernet services (CW/01052/08/10) in terms of many of the services which BT sold and the time period during which they were sold. Both disputes relate to the cost orientation of BTs charges for WES and BES services" (see OFCOM's relative page).

OFCOM consults on coexistence of new services in the 800 MHz band with digital terrestrial television

After the UK Government's project for tackling intereference issues was released (see yesterday's post), OFCOM has launched its consultation on the implementation issues arising from that project (see OFCOM's respective page).

Maltese NRA issues its decision determining must - carry obligations

MCA has issued its decision determining the must - carry obligations to be imposed.

Orange, Sunrise and Swisscom purchase mobile radio frequencies at Swiss auction

"On behalf of ComCom, the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) auctioned the currently free mobile radio frequencies and those which will become free by 2014 and 2017 respectively, including those of the so-called digital dividend (former broadcasting frequencies). This means that as a result of this new award, more spectrum is available to the mobile operators than they previously had in service. They will therefore be able to meet the rapidly growing demand for mobile broadband services, expand their networks using the latest mobile radio technologies such as LTE (Long Term Evolution) and offer high-quality mobile radio services to consumers in Switzerland at the lowest possible prices. The revenue, in the amount of CHF 996‘268‘000, will go to the federal treasury.

The companies Orange, Sunrise, Swisscom and In&Phone had applied to take part in the auction. In&Phone did not satisfy the admission criteria and was therefore not allowed to participate in the auction. The auction lasted for a total of 13 days and was conducted using an electronic auction system by the British company DotEcon Ltd. This system allows secure bidding over the internet.

Thanks to the auction, the new frequency allocation between the mobile operators was determined by themselves and not by a public authority. This world first total allocation of mobile radio frequencies allowed Orange, Sunrise and Swisscom each to purchase a new, comprehensive frequency allocation in accordance with their business models. The licences will be awarded in a technology-neutral manner so that the frequencies will also be able to be used with the latest mobile radio technologies such as LTE (Long Term Evolution of UMTS). This early award of frequencies and a period of use extending to the end of 2028 will enable licensees to plan for the long term and make their investments on a solid basis. This means that the rapidly growing demand for mobile broadband services will be able to be satisfied even in the long term
" (see the table of the frequencies auctioned and the regulator's respective page).

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Microsoft files too a complaint against Motorola before the Commission

Microsoft filed too (besides Apple) a complaint against Motorola before the European Commission.

Dave Heiner, Microsoft's Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, notes in his post titled "Google: Please Don’t Kill Video on the Web", that "...We have taken this step because Motorola is attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products. Their offense? These products enable people to view videos on the Web and to connect wirelessly to the Internet using industry standards.

You probably take for granted that you can view videos on your smartphone, tablet, PC, or DVD/Blu-ray player and connect to the Internet without being tied to a cable. That works because the industry came together years ago to define common technical standards that every firm can use to build compatible products for video and Wi-Fi. Motorola and all the other firms that contributed to these standards also made a promise to one another: that if they had any patents essential to the standards, they would make their patents available on fair and reasonable terms, and would not use them to block competitors from shipping their products.

Motorola has broken its promise. Motorola is on a path to use standard essential patents to kill video on the Web, and Google as its new owner doesn’t seem to be willing to change course.

In legal proceedings on both sides of the Atlantic, Motorola is demanding that Microsoft take its products off the market, or else remove their standards-based ability to play video and connect wirelessly. The only basis for these actions is that these products implement industry standards, on which Motorola claims patents. Yet when the industry adopted these standards, we all were counting on Motorola and every contributor to live up to their promises. Watching video on the Web is one of the primary uses of computers these days. And we’ve all grown accustomed to “anytime, anywhere” access to the Internet, often made possible by the Wi-Fi standard. Imagine what a step back it would be if we could no longer watch videos on our computing devices or connect via Wi-Fi, or if only some products, but not others, had these capabilities. That would defeat the whole purpose of an industry standard.

The European Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice are both focused on this problem. At the urging of competition law officials, Microsoft recently announced that it will not seek injunctions against other firms’ products on the basis of standard essential products (and Microsoft had never done so). Apple and Cisco made similar statements. Unfortunately, Google refused. Not surprisingly, the European Commission does not seem to be satisfied. Joaquin Almunia, the European Union’s Competition Commissioner, said “I can assure you that the Commission will take further action if warranted to ensure that the use of standard essential patents by all players in the sector is fully compliant with EU competition law and with the FRAND commitments given to standard setting organisations.” The Department of Justice issued a similar statement. We know other companies in the industry share our concerns. Last week, Apple filed its own complaint against Motorola with the European Commission.

There is an obvious way out of all this. Motorola should honor its promises, and make its standard essential patents available on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms. Microsoft is certainly prepared to pay a fair and reasonable price for use of others’ intellectual property. Within just the past few years, Microsoft has entered into more than a thousand patent licenses. We know how it’s done
".

European Commission will ask the CJEU on ACTA's compatibility with EU law

The European Commission has decided to ask the CJEU on ACTA's compatibility with EU law (see Reading's quote statement).

UK judge finds Pirate Bay and its users infringing copyight

High Court's Judge Arnold has found that the Pirate Bay and its users infringe copyright rules. A part of its judgment reads as follows: "In my judgment, the operators of TPB do authorise its users' infringing acts of copying and communication to the public. They go far beyond merely enabling or assisting. On any view, they "sanction, approve and countenance" the infringements of copyright committed by its users. But in my view they also purport to grant users the right to do the acts complained of. It is no defence that they openly defy the rights of the copyright owners. I would add that I consider the present case to be indistinguishable from 20C Fox v Newzbin in this respect. If anything, it is a stronger case".

UK privacy watchdog releases 2012-2015 plan and seeks views

ICO has made public and consults on its 2012-2015 plan.

UK £180m scheme to deal with LTE and WiMax interference on TV frequencies

"A £180 million scheme will fund solutions to TV signal interference which could be caused by the next generation of mobile services.

...

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey announced today that affected homes will be provided with solutions through a help scheme that will be funded and run by mobile operators
" (see the DCMS relevant page).

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to the Latvian NRA on the latter's review of the retail market of the minimum set of leased lines

The European Commission had no comments to make, in its decision, to the Latvian NRA on the latter's review of the retail market of the minimum set of leased lines according to which ex ante regulation was removed from that market since the second and third criterion were not met.

Swiss Competition Commission finds cartel clauses in FttH co-operation

The Swiss Competition Commission found that FTTH co-operation of the city of Geneva and Fribourg contains clauses equivalent to hard core cartels. Exemption from punishment a priori is therefore excluded according to the authority. Based on similar findings, cooperation contracts in Basel, Bern, Lucerne and Zurich have been adapted accordingly (see the press release, in french).

Belgian NRA receives reference offers from cable companies

BIPT has received the reference offers from Numericable, Brutélé and as regards their resale offer of analogue TV platform, access to the platform of digital television, and the resale offer of broadband access.

OECD issues Recommendation on International Mobile Roaming Services

"The OECD Recommendation says that promoting transparent information on roaming prices would protect consumers and businesses. A financial limit for data roaming services would also help.

It is essential to remove barriers that prevent mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) from having access to wholesale mobile services on local conditions and on fair and reasonable terms, says the OECD. These MVNOs should also benefit from regulated wholesale roaming rates between operators.

If other measures are not effective, governments should consider price regulation for roaming services. Wholesale roaming services could be regulated by means of bilateral or multilateral wholesale agreements with mutually established price caps.
"

Monday, 20 February 2012

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to the Danish NRA on the latters imposition of remedies to a new entrant in the mobile call termination market

The European Commission did not make any comments, in its decision, as regards the decision of the Danish NRA to impose the same remedies foreseen in the mobile call termination market analysis to the new entrant, Lycamobile.

World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 sees allocation of the 700MHz band for wireless broadband after 2015

"Key WRC-12 highlights:

Spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT)

In addition to the use of the 790-862 MHz in Regions 1 and 3, WRC-12 considered further spectrum allocations to the mobile service, including International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) to facilitate the development of terrestrial mobile broadband applications in the frequency band 694 – 790 MHz. This issue has been placed on the WRC-15 Agenda together with the need to consider additional spectrum allocations for the mobile service.

Increase efficiency in the use of the spectrum/orbit resource

In addition to the clarification of the notion of bringing into use of satellite network frequency assignments (satellite deployed and maintained at the notified orbital position for a continuous period of ninety days), WRC-12 also mandated the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau to initiate enquiries to administrations to provide information on the movement of satellites. Improved due diligence information, including more detail information on the identity of the spacecraft used for the operation of the frequency assignments was also agreed to foster the long term access and development of the Broadcasting Satellite Service (BSS) in the 21-4-22 GHz band in Regions 1 and 3. WRC-12 improved the satellite coordination by reducing the coordination arc in parts of the most congested spectrum and agreed to look into the possibility of further reductions.

Early warning, disaster mitigation and relief operations

With reference to emergency telecommunications, WRC-12 addressed the application of new technologies, such as IMT and intelligent transport systems (ITS) to support or supplement advanced public protection and disaster relief applications.

WRC-12 instructed ITU-R to continue studying aspects of radiocommunications and ICT that are relevant to early warning, disaster mitigation and relief operations and encouraged administrations to consider using identified frequency bands when undertaking their national planning for the purposes of achieving regionally harmonized frequency bands or ranges for advanced public protection and disaster relief solutions.

Earth observation’s societal and economic value recognized

WRC-12 focused on “The importance of Earth observation radiocommunication applications” in collecting and exchanging Earth observation data to maintain and improve the accuracy of weather forecasts, which contribute to the protection of life and preservation of property around the world. The Conference reaffirmed that Earth observation applications have considerable societal and economic value and urged administrations to protect the Earth observation systems in the related frequency bands.

Meteorological-satellite service gets more bandwidth

Non-geostationary satellites are an important part of the space-based Global Observing System and WRC-12 allocated additional spectrum to the meteorological-satellite service.

Satellite remote passive sensing

WRC-12 updated spectrum use aimed at the future of Earth observation applications with the development of passive sensors flying on meteorological and environmental satellites to monitor water vapour and oxygen spectral lines, which are needed for ice cloud and precipitation measurements and for storm monitoring and climate studies.

Oceanographic radars get support

WRC-12 adopted the relevant protection levels for interference caused by oceanographic radars. These radars operate using ground-waves that propagate over the sea to measure coastal sea surface conditions in support of environmental, oceanographic, meteorological, climatological, maritime and disaster mitigation operations and for the surveillance of coastal pollution, fisheries management, search and rescue, beach erosion, and maritime navigation.

Maritime services

Maritime communication requirements to support safety systems for ships and ports

WRC-12 addressed maritime communication requirements to support safety systems for ships and port operations. The conference included new provisions in the Radio Regulations to improve satellite detection of automatic information systems using VHF channels.

Transmitting frequencies in the VHF maritime mobile band

The conference also considered the use of new technologies in the maritime service needed to the “Table of transmitting frequencies in the VHF maritime mobile band”, which defines the channel numbering for maritime VHF communications based on 25 kHz channel spacing as well as where digital technologies could be deployed.

Aeronautical services


WRC-12 decided that necessary spectrum would be available for the introduction of applications and concepts in air traffic management that can support data links carrying safety-critical aviation information. These systems will enhance aeronautical communications capability and – in conjunction with more precise navigational capabilities – allow flight routing to be more efficient, resulting in fewer delays, shorter flight times on average, lower fuel costs and reduced CO² emissions. ITU-R will continue to study any compatibility issues between the broadcasting service and aeronautical mobile (route) service in the band 108–117.975 MHz that may arise from the introduction of digital sound broadcasting systems.

Aviation safety

The growth in the aviation industry calls for expanded capacity of mobile communication links that can operate over the horizon. WRC-12 decided that notifying administrations of mobile-satellite service networks shall accommodate the spectrum needed for distress, urgency and safety communications of the global maritime distress and safety system (GMDSS) and for the aeronautical mobile-satellite (route) service communications.

Aeronautical mobile (route) service

Aeronautical mobile (route) service systems are critical for various air traffic and flight safety communications. Some of the communication systems, such as traffic information, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast, and flight information provide easily accessible air traffic information to multiple air traffic managers at the same time, allowing for more efficient use of airspace. The allocation of the frequency band 960−1164 MHz to the aeronautical mobile (route) service is intended to support the introduction of applications and concepts in air traffic management which are data intensive and which could support data links that carry safety critical aeronautical data.

Aeronautical mobile to protect other primary services in 37−38 GHz band


A number of countries are deploying space research service earth station receivers in the band 37−38 GHz to support manned near-Earth missions and deep-space missions. WRC-12 decided to exclude the aeronautical component of this mobile service allocation to ensure proper protection of existing and planned space research and mobile services.

Aerospace surveillance

WRC-12 addressed the lack of spectrum available for aerospace surveillance and tracking the launch and manoeuvring of spacecraft and provided an additional allocation in the frequency band 154−156 MHz to the radiolocation service in some countries
" (see the full press release).

Friday, 17 February 2012

Moldova's regulator issues 2012 Strategy Plan

Moldova's regulator issues 2012 Strategy Plan (see press release).

Moldova's regulator consults on call termination markets

"The National Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Information Technology (ANRCETI – www.anrceti.md) has placed on its Internet page, for public consultations, the draft amendments to Administrative board Decisions no. 60 – 75 and 77 – 79 of 23.12.2010 which impose special ex-ante obligations on providers with significant market power (SMP) on the markets for voice call termination in individual fixed and mobile networks (market 3 and 7). The consultation is scheduled to last through March 5, 2012, this being the deadline for comments and recommendations" (see the press release).

Portuguese regulator issues final decision designating provider of universal service and on net cost

"By determination of 7 February 2012, ANACOM has approved the report of the public consultation on the process of designating the provider(s) of the universal service of electronic communications in Portugal, launched by the Government, in coordination with ANACOM, on 16 November 2011.

Approval was likewise given to the decision on the net costs of the universal service in the framework of the respective tenders and also given to the conditions and specifications which govern each of the constituent provisions of the universal service of electronic communications and which will be binding upon the undertaking(s) designated by public tender to ensure such provisions. Further approval was given to the recommendations issued by ANACOM on the process in question, with regard to the competence of the Executive involving transversal questions and other aspects related to the tender components
" (see the relative page).

UK Watchdog fines £100,000 for online 'squatting' that misled consumers

"Two firms who misled consumers by allowing their competitions to be promoted on websites with very similar web addresses to popular sites have been fined £100,000 each by PhonepayPlus, the UK regulator of premium rate telephone services (PRS)" (see teh press release).

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Portuguese NCA recommends re-assessment of pricing of calls to non-geographic numbers

"On 3 February 2012, AdC - Autoridade da Concorrência (Portuguese Competition Authority) issued Recommendation no. 1/2012 on the pricing applied to the origination of calls to non-geographic numbers on national mobile networks. This recommendation follows ANACOM'S notification of 18 February 2010, and other complaints.

In its Recommendation, AdC calls on TMN, Vodafone, Optimus to carry out a re-assessment, by 31 July 2012, on the appropriateness of pricing applied to the service of origination of calls to special services and non-geographic numbers in light of the cost of the service. Failure to conclude this assessment will determine the opening of an investigation by AdC, possibly leading to the exercise of the authority's sanctioning powers
" (see the full press release).

ANACOM issues draft decision on its review of wholesale markets of network infrastructure access at a fixed location and broadband access

ANACOM has issued and launched its consultation on its draft decision of its review of wholesale markets of network infrastructure access at a fixed location and broadband access (see the press release).

Microsoft's, Apple's and RIM's acquisition of Nortel patents and Apple's acquisition of Novell patents cleared by the DoJ

In a Statement, the DoJ announced that beyond the clearance of Motorola's acquisition by Google, it has also cleared Microsoft's, Apple's and RIM's acquisition of Nortel patents and Apple's acquisition of Novell patents.

FCC's reform on cellular licensing requirements

FCC has made public its NPRM attempting "to promote government efficiency and eliminate burdensome regulatory processes by providing licensees with greater flexibility to provide advanced communications service in areas currently unlicensed in the 800 MHz Cellular Service (Cellular Service).

...the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and adopted an Order proposing to revise the licensing model for the Cellular Service from a site-based to a geographically-based approach. This proposal would first reduce regulatory requirements in the most licensed markets while preserving the current model for a period to foster the provision of service in less licensed markets
" (see the press release).

CJEU's decision in the Sabam case

The Court's decision in case C-360/10 reads as:

"Directives:

– 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (Directive on electronic commerce);

– 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society; and

– 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights,

read together and construed in the light of the requirements stemming from the protection of the applicable fundamental rights, must be interpreted as precluding a national court from issuing an injunction against a hosting service provider which requires it to install a system for filtering:

– information which is stored on its servers by its service users;

– which applies indiscriminately to all of those users;

– as a preventative measure;

– exclusively at its expense; and

– for an unlimited period,

which is capable of identifying electronic files containing musical, cinematographic or audio-visual work in respect of which the applicant for the injunction claims to hold intellectual property rights, with a view to preventing those works from being made available to the public in breach of copyright.
"

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

FCC halts Lightsquared's plans for 4g-LTE

FCC halts Lightsquared's plans for 4g-LTE, as fears of harmful intereference to GPS are verified (see NTIA letter and FCC statement).

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to UKE on the dispute settlement concerning voice call termination on the mobile networks of P4 and Mobyland in Poland

The European Commission, made the following comments, in its decision, to UKE, as regards the latter's settlement of the dispute between mobile operators P4 and Mobyland in Poland:

"Need to promote regulatory efficiency, transparency, certainty, and nondiscrimination in MTR regulation in Poland

In the context of recent Phase II investigations and UKE's subsequent withdrawal of draft measures the Commission, BEREC, and UKE agreed that regulatory obligations, including the level of MTRs, should be legally binding for the addressees of SMP decisions and should be executed and implemented immediately after the relevant decisions are issued, without any additional need for the regulator to intervene in disputes concerning the introduction of such regulated MTRs into bilateral interconnection agreements.

The Commission welcomes this commitment by UKE and expects, therefore, that in the future MTRs will be effectively imposed by UKE and immediately applied by operators, without the need for dispute resolution. The currently proposed draft measure should therefore only be transitory in nature and subsequently be replaced by a single MTR decision governing termination rates of individual MNOs vis-à-vis all other operators. To that end UKE should be able to effectively enforce its decisions, and apply dissuasive penalties in case its decisions are not implemented on time.

Need for cost-oriented, symmetric termination rates


The Commission reiterates its previous comments and 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 the presently notified draft measure UKE fails to justify the need for departing from symmetric MTRs by way of the proposed glide-path. Instead, UKE has pointed to its non-binding "position" of 2010, which lacks any detailed assessment of Mobyland's costs. The only explanation with regard to costs was submitted by UKE in its response to the request for information. There UKE argues that in order to set MTRs for Mobyland it uses historical costs of P4 as a proxy but no further details are provided and this information is anyway not included in the draft measures.

In this respect, the Commission does not see the need to launch a further investigation under Article 7a of the Framework Directive in view of UKE's commitment, as set out in the Common Statement, to notify new draft SMP decisions for all mobile operators in mid-2012 and to implement symmetric and BU-LRICbased rates starting from 1 January 2013.
"

Commission's Art. 7 Comments to UKE on the dispute settlement between Polkomtel S.A. and E-Telko Sp. z o.o. in Poland

The European Commission, made the following comments, in its decision, to UKE, as regards the latter's settlement of the dispute between mobile operator Polkomtel S.A. and fixed operator E-Telko Sp. z o.o. in Poland:

"Need to promote regulatory efficiency, transparency, certainty, and nondiscrimination in MTR regulation in Poland

In the context of recent Phase II investigations and UKE's subsequent withdrawal of draft measures, the Commission, BEREC, and UKE jointly reiterated that regulatory obligations, including the level of MTRs, should be legally binding for the addressees of SMP decisions and should be executed and implemented immediately after the relevant decisions are issued, without any additional need for the regulator to intervene in disputes concerning the introduction of such regulated MTRs into bilateral interconnection agreements.

The Commission welcomes UKE's commitment that in the future MTRs will be effectively imposed by UKE and immediately applied by operators, without the need for dispute resolution. The currently proposed draft measure should therefore only be transitory in nature and subsequently be replaced by a single MTR decision governing termination rates of individual MNOs vis-à-vis all other operators, which takes full account of the Termination Rates Recommendation. To this end UKE should be able to effectively enforce its decisions, and apply dissuasive penalties in case its decisions are not implemented duly and in time.

Need for cost-oriented, symmetric termination rates

The Commission reiterates its previous comments and urges UKE to take full account of the Termination Rates Recommendation and to set symmetric, costoriented termination rates for all mobile operators in Poland. In the presently notified draft measure UKE maintains MTRs in Polkomtel's network which are significantly above the cost oriented levels as calculated by UKE. As already underlined in previous Commission comments, UKE failed to calculate the MTRs for Polkomtel (as well as for other large MNOs in Poland) on the basis of costs of an efficient operator. The use of actual costs incurred, 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.

However, in view of UKE's commitment, as set out in the Common Statement of the Commission, BEREC and UKE, to notify new draft SMP decisions for all mobile operators in mid-2012 and to implement symmetric and BU-LRIC-based rates starting as of 1 January 2013 , the Commission does not see the need to launch a further investigation under Article 7a of the Framework Directive.

Pursuant to Article 7(7) of the Framework Directive, UKE may adopt the draft measure
and, where it does so, shall communicate it to the Commission.
"

Lebanon and Cypriot incumbent reach agreement on undersea fibre optic cable

The Minister of Telecommunications of the Government of Lebanon and Cyta signed an agreement on the establishment of an undersea fibre optic cable, connenting Lebanon with Cyprus (see infocom.gr, in greek).

Dispute relating to BT’s Standard Interconnect Agreement

A dispute concerning BT’s Standard Interconnect Agreement (SIA) as enforced by BT against Everything Everywhere (EE), was brought before OFCOM. "This dispute concerns Paragraph 12 of BT's SIA and the rights this confers on BT to introduce changes to charges for BT services or facilities supplied under the SIA, as compared to the rights Paragraph 13 confers on EE to introduce changes to charges for its services supplied under the SIA" (see OFCOM's relative page).

Competition Commission's final determination on price control issues of the MTRs case

The non-confidential version of the CC's final determination on the price control issues which arose in the appeal brought before CAT by BT, Everything Everywhere, Hutchison 3g and Vodafone against OFCOM's price control obligation imposed upon them in the mobile call termination market, was made available.

CJEU's decision in Toshiba Corporation and others case

The Court has delivered its decision in Case C‑17/10, the main points of which read as:

"1. The provisions of Article 81 EC and Article 3(1) 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 meaning that, in the context of a proceeding initiated after 1 May 2004, they do not apply to a cartel which produced effects, in the territory of a Member State which acceded to the Union on 1 May 2004, during periods prior to that date.

2. The opening by the European Commission of a proceeding against a cartel under Chapter III of Regulation No 1/2003 does not, pursuant to Article 11(6) of Regulation No 1/2003, read in combination with Article 3(1) of the same regulation, cause the competition authority of the Member State concerned to lose its power, by the application of national competition law, to penalise the anti-competitive effects produced by that cartel in the territory of the said Member State during periods before the accession of the latter to the European Union.

3. The ne bis in idem principle does not preclude penalties which the national competition authority of the Member State concerned imposes on undertakings participating in a cartel on account of the anti-competitive effects to which the cartel gave rise in the territory of that Member State prior to its accession to the European Union, where the fines imposed on the same cartel members by a Commission decision taken before the decision of the said national competition authority was adopted were not designed to penalise the said effects.
"

European Commission's plan to boost High-Performance Computing in Europe

"...the Commission today sets out a plan for the EU to reverse its relative decline in HPC use and capabilities. Under this plan the EU will double its investment in HPC (from €630 million to €1.2 billion) and become home to computers that can perform 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (i.e. 1018) operations per second ("exa-scale"), before 2020. Half of the investment would be for development and training and for new centres of excellence, creating thousands of jobs.

...

Specifically, the Commission's plan will substantially strengthen HPC in Europe by:

- Strengthening PRACE as the leading pan-European HPC e-infrastructure, pooling national and EU funds to service academic and industrial research

- Creating a workforce adequately trained in HPC

- Stimulating the market for HPC in Europe by supporting more acquisitions of HPC systems and services and faster uptake of HPC by industry and SMEs

- Encouraging Member States to jointly procure leading edge HPC systems in order to share costs

- Establishing centres of excellence for software in scientific fields like energy, life-sciences and climate

- Supporting the HPC Industry and research to maintain an independent and state-of-the-art EU supply chain through research and Innovation funding and pre-commercial procurement

- Working to ensure that the EU HPC industry has fair access to global markets
" (see the Commission's full press release).

ITRE Committee's proposed amendments to Commission's proposed Regulation on Enisa

It was mentioned in an older post, the decision of the European Parliament's ITRE Committee to endorse the Commission's proposal to enforce ENISA with new powers and extend its time limit. The Committe made finally available its proposed amendments to the Commission's proposed Regulation and has provided a consolidated version of the proposed regulation with the amendments incorporated.

European Commission to develop Human Rights guidance for the ICT sector

"...the Commission starts the process of providing human rights guidance to the ICT sector – kicking off a process to make it easier for makers and users of ICT products and services to know the impact their technology has on Human Rights across the world" (see Neelie Kroes' blog, DG ENT's respective page and ihrb.org).

European Parliament approves RSPP

The European Parliament approved the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme as it stands in the document agreed with the Council in December (see the EP's press release).

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Greek NRA issues 2012 Strategy Plan

EETT has made public its Strategic plan for 2012 (in greek) (see the press release, in greek).

And 3rd "victim" of Art. 7a: Commission suspends Dutch proposal to raise wholesale rates for fixed & mobile telephony and starts an in-depth review

"The European Commission has expressed serious doubts about a new proposal from the Dutch telecoms regulator (OPTA) regarding fixed and mobile termination rates which would negatively affect consumers in the Netherlands. Termination rates are the rates telecoms networks charge each other to deliver calls between networks, and each operator has market power over access to customers on its own network. These costs are ultimately included in call prices paid by consumers and businesses.

In a previous filing in 2010, OPTA proposed to apply cost-oriented fixed and mobile termination rates, in line with the Commission's 2009 Recommendation under the EU telecoms legislation. Despite this, OPTA's decision was subsequently annulled in a national Tribunal ruling, which prescribed a different methodology that includes costs not directly related to call termination. Under OPTA's new proposal based on the national Tribunal's methodology, fixed and mobile termination rights would be twice as high as under the EU approach.

...

In the letter sent to OPTA today, the Commission explains that the new rates in this proposal do not comply with the principles and objectives of EU telecoms rules which require Member States to promote competition and the interests of consumers in the EU, as well as the development of the Single Market
" (see the full press release).

Update of 15/02/2012: Letter sent to OPTA available.

Update of 26/02/2012: BEREC's Opinion available.

Commission approves acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google

"The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a developer of smartphones and tablets, by Google, the world's largest internet search and search advertising company and developer of Android, one of the most popular mobile operating systems. The Commission approved the transaction mainly because it would not significantly modify the market situation in respect of operating systems and patents for these devices.

...

All smartphones and tablets need an operating system. The Commission considered whether Google would be likely to prevent Motorola's competitors from using Google's Android operating system. The Commission's investigation showed Android helps to drive the spread of Google's other services. Consequently, given that Google's core business model is to push its online and mobile services and software to the widest possible audience, it is unlikely that Google would restrict the use of Android solely to Motorola, a minor player in the European Economic Area (EEA)1, as compared to operators such as Samsung and HTC.

All smartphones also need to adhere to certain telecommunications standards such as 3G or 4G/LTE. Motorola, as some other market participants, holds patents that are essential for these standards to operate. Access to such "standard essential" patents is therefore crucial for players on the smartphone market. However, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly change the existing market situation in this respect.

Finally, the Commission also examined whether Google would be in a position to use Motorola’s standard essential patents to obtain preferential treatment for its services, including search and advertising. The Commission found that Google already had many ways in which to incentivise customers to take up its services and that the acquisition of Motorola would not materially change this.

The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not significahntly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.

Today's decision is without prejudice to potential antitrust problems related to the use of standard essential patents in the market in general. However, any such issues would not arise specifically as a result of the proposed transaction
" (see the full press release).

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

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

"Need to include in the final measure the timetable regarding the imposition of BU-LRIC based termination rates

IBPT proposes to maintain the current level of Belgacom's termination rates until a BU-LRIC costing model is developed. Current prices are based on an FDC model, which includes common costs in the termination charge. In its notified measures, IBPT indicates that it will, in the future, impose a BU-LRIC model and set prices on this basis without however, initially, providing a timetable.

The Commission emphasizes that under the Termination Rates Recommendation FTRs should be implemented at cost-efficient, symmetric levels by 31 December 2012. The Commission notes that IBPT has committed to take all possible actions to implement the pure LRIC for fixed termination services as soon as possible and at the latest during the year 2013. The Commission welcomes that IBPT further committed to clarify this implementation date in its final measure.

If the BU-LRIC model currently developed by IBPT will not be finalized on time, the IBPT must make sure that any alternative methodology used to set the termination rates by 2013 should be in line with the Termination Rates Recommendation, i.e. that the outcome of the use of an alternative methodology should not exceed the average of the termination rates set by NRAs implementing the recommended cost methodology. Market players should not, in any case, face a lack of certainty concerning the levels of FTRs to be applied from 2013 onwards.
"

2nd "victim" of art. 7a: Commission suspends discriminatory Danish SMS price regulation and starts an in-depth review - UPDATE

"The Commission has written to the Danish telecoms regulator, Danish Business Authority (DBA), to express its serious doubts about the compatibility with EU law of DBA's proposed regulation of SMS termination rates, the rates mobile networks charge each other to deliver SMS between networks. DBA's proposal concerns the text messages sent to customers of the mobile virtual network operator Lycamobile (terminated on Lycamobile's network), which entered the Danish market in the first half of 2010. The Commission is concerned that the price control DBA proposes might be discriminatory as it treats differently SMS coming from operators providing telecommunication services in Denmark. Such SMS are subject to (lower) price caps while SMS coming from operators providing telecommunication services in other Member States, are not regulated. The Commission, in close cooperation with the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) will, over the next three months discuss with DBA how to amend its proposal in order to make it compliant with EU law" (see the full press release).

Update of 15/02/2012: Letter sent to DBA available.

Update of 26/03/2012: BEREC's Opinion available.

Update of 20/04/2012: Danish NRA amends its decision and submits it to the Commission.

Monday, 13 February 2012

AGCOM consults on cost methodolgy as regards wholesale access to TI's fibre network

AGCOM launched its consultation on the cost methodolgy as regards wholesale access to Telecom Italia's fibre network (see the press release, in italian).

AGCOM consults on the regulatory impact that new transmission techniques have on ngn development

The Italian NRA launched its consultation on the regulatory impact that new transmission techniques, such as vectoring, have on next generation access development (see the press release, in italian).

Italian regulator consults on the imposition of symmetrical obligations in network infrastructure access

AGCOM launched its consultation on the conditions for the imposition of symmetrical obligations in network infrastructure access (see the press release, in italian).

ANACOM approves draft decision on PT's pricing of tv signal distibution and broadcasting service

"By determination of 2 February 2012, ANACOM has approved the draft decision for submission to the specific consultation procedure before the European Commission (EC), Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the national regulatory authorities of other Member States of the European Union on the pricing of the television signal (terrestrial) distribution and broadcasting (analogue) service, as charged by PT Comunicações" (see the press release).

Greece's MoU on Specific Economic Policy Conditionality ratified yesterday and Electronic Communications

The MoU, signed just yesterday in the Greek Parliament, contains a whole section focusing on the electronic communications sector. This section follows, as provided through numerous media sources (here real.gr) and thus without prejudice to the exact official content to be available in the next coming days:

"Electronic communications

The Government adopts the Common Ministerial Decision on "Base stations and antennae constructions that are exempted from authorisation" provided for in Art. 31.8 of Law 3431/2006 and in Art. 29.9 of the draft law on the Regulation of the functioning of the postal market, matters of electronic communications and other provisions.[end-February 2012]

The Government adopts the provisions instituting EETT as a One-Stop Shop for the licensing of antennae and base stations. [end-February 2012]

The Law transposing the 2009 Reform Package (i.e., Directive 2009/140/EC and Directive 2009/136) is adopted by Parliament. [Q1-2012]

Regarding the Digital Dividend, the Government (and/or EETT):

- defines a legal framework in primary law that envisages a mandatory date for switch-off of analogue broadcasting for 30/06/2013 and a technologically neutral utilisation of the 800MHz band after the switch off, taking also into account the provisions of the draft Radio Spectrum Policy Programme (RSPP). [Q1-2012]

- completes the studies on the evaluation of the value of the Digital Dividend and on the strategy for the granting of the Digital Dividend (800 MHz band). [Q1-2012]

- resolves cross-border coordination issues with neighbouring countries. If difficulties on international coordination make this date unfeasible, the frequency and broadcasting plans might indicate alternative channels for re-location of broadcasters, while continuing negotiations with third countries in view of the final assignment of frequencies to broadcasters and mobile operators. [Q2-2012]

- launches the consultation for the amendment of the frequency and broadcasting plans. [Q2-2012]

- amends the frequency and the broadcasting plans, depending on the outcome/actual state of play of international coordination. [Q3-2012]

- adopts necessary secondary legislation for the assignment of licenses for broadcasting and for the establishment of licensing procedures, antennae specifications, etc. [Q3-2012]

- launch the public consultation on the tender procedure for the assignment of the digital dividend to broadband. [Q4-2012]

- proceed to the tender for the assignment of definitive rights of use for broadcasting transmission. [Q1-2013]

- proceed to the tender procedure for the assignment of frequencies of the digital dividend, allocating and authorising the use of the digital dividend (800 MHz band) to Electronic Communications Services in line with EC Decision 2010/267/EU and in respect of the deadlines and procedures of the RSPP. [Q2-2013]
"

Spanish regulator issues note on substitutability between fixed and mobile access

CMT has issued a note (in spanish) on the substitutability between fixed and mobile access.

ANCOM finalises MVNOs draft guidelines

ANCOM has finalised its "draft guidelines on the activity of the mobile virtual operators (MVNO) in the Romanian electronic communications market, detailing the requirements to be met when entering the market as well as during the activity of those providers willing to offer mobile electronic communications services by means of accessing another operator’s network" (see the press release).

Romanian regulator finalises Romtelecom's new separate accounting methodology

"ANCOM finalised the decision on the approval of the regulation on the elaboration by Romtelecom, the operator obliged to ensure a high level of cost and tariff transparency in its capacity as a provider designated as having significant power on several markets, of the accounting separation within the internal cost accounting system" (see the press release).

Spanish NCA fines Abertis Telecom for abuse of dominant position

"The National Competition Commission has issued a resolution finding that Abertis Telecom S.A.U. has committed an abuse of its dominant position in the market for DTT signal transport and distribution services" (see the relative page).

Autorité de la concurrence releases corporate compliance framework document and settlement guidelines

The French NCA has released "a framework document aiming at encouraging corporate compliance programmes and guidelines about the settlement procedure in antitrust cases" (see the press release).

Thursday, 9 February 2012

OFCOM consults on consumer switching in fixed voice and broadband

OFCOM has launched "a consultation on proposals to change the processes for switching fixed voice and broadband providers on the Openreach copper network" (see relative page).

OFCOM issues further draft determinations on THUS, Cable & Wireless, Global Crossing, Verizon, Virgin Media and Colt against BT disputes about PPCs

"On 8 February 2012 Ofcom issued further draft determinations to the Parties in the related disputes between COLT and BT (CW/01002/11/08) and between THUS, Cable & Wireless, Global Crossing, Verizon and Virgin Media against BT (CW/00992/06/08). These new draft determinations relate to PPC services not covered in the final determinations of 14 October 2009 and specifically address BT’s charges for 140/155 Mbit/s terminating segment services and 34/45 Mbit/s trunk services" (see relative pages here and here).

OFCOM'S Draft Determinations to resolve disputes between each of Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media and BT regarding BT’s charges for Ethernet services

OFCOM has issued its Draft Determinations to resolve disputes between each of Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media and BT regarding BT’s charges for Ethernet services (see relative page).

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Maltese NRA issues final determination on its analysis of the access to the public telephone network at a fixed location market

MCA has issued its final determination on its review of the access to the public telephone network at a fixed location market.

UK Ministry of Justice consults on EU data protection reform

The UK Ministry of Justice launched a consultation on the proposed by the European Commission reform of the data protection framework (see the relative page).

Norwegian data protection authority deters enterprises from using google apps

Some days ago, in respect to the case of the Narvik municipality choosing to use google’s cloud computing services to process the municipality’s e-mails, Norway's "Data Inspectorate has concluded that Google Apps fail to comply with the Norwegian Personal Data Act, among other things because the municipality loses control of the information Google processes through the Cloud Computing services" (see the press release).

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Commission approves Sony/Ericsson's acquisition by Sony

The European Commission approved Sony/Ericsson's acquisition by Sony (see the OJ).

Maltese NRA consults on information to be included in subscriber contracts

MCA launched a consultation, on the information to be included in subscriber contracts.

Spanish regulator communicates to the Commission its draft decision on the analysis of the Mobile Call Termination market

CMT has communicated to the Commission and other stakeholders, its draft review of the mobile call termination market, including the mobile call termination rates proposed (see the press release, in spanish).

OFCOM communicates to the Commission its draft decision on LLU and WLR price control

OFCOM communicated to the Commission its draft decision of its price control on local loop unbundling and wholesale line rental (see the relative page).

EP's ITRE Committee endorses Commission's proposal on strenghtening ENISA

The European Parliament's ITRE Committee, approved the Commission's proposal on stengthening ENISA through extending its mandate to 2017 and by forming response teams, providing in that way a mandate to start negotiations with a view to a possible first-reading agreement (see the press release).

Art. 29 WP requests freeze of new Google's privacy policy

In its letter, the WP requested from Google to pause its new privacy policy. The latter, responded that it has put its policy under scrutiny for a sufficient period of time and in any case, its policy will come into effect from 1 March 2012. At the same time, Google refers to a Congressional committee in the US as regards the same policy (see cnet.com).

Vodafone and Largo Limited terminate merger talks

The talks between Vodafone and Largo Limited, the sole shareholder of Wind Hellas, having as its subject the acquisition of the latter by Vodafone, have been terminated (see press release).

Cypriot Competition Authority launches investigation against Forthnet, Multichoice Hellas and Cyta

The Cypriot NCA, decided (see the press release, in greek) to investigate the agreement concluded between Forthnet/Multichoice and Cyta, in relation to the carriage of the former's content of Nova Cyprus through the latter's platform called cytavision.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Irish NRA issues final decision on Eircom's price control obligation in the wholesale terminating segments leased lines market

ComReg has issued its final decision, providing for the full details of the price control, imposed on the SMP operator in the wholesale terminating segments leased lines market.

AGCOM consults on Telecom Italia's 2012 price cap for its bitsream services

The Italian NRA launched its consultation on Telecom Italia's 2012 price cap for its bitsream services (see relative page, in italian).

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Prior notification of Philips TV Business acquisition by TPV

"On 20 January 2012, the Commission received a notification of a proposed concentration pursuant to Article 4 of Council Regulation No 139/2004 ( 1 ) by which the undertaking TPV Technology Limited, (‘TPV’, Bermuda) intends to acquire, within the meaning of Article 3(1)(b) of the Merger Regulation, control of the Philips' worldwide Colour TV business (‘Philips TV Business’, the Netherlands) with the exception of a number of countries outside the EEA" (see the OJ).

EP's Draft Resolution on Council's 1st Reading of the RSPP

The European Parliament's Draft Legislative Resolution, endorses the agreement reached last October between the EP and the Council, leading to the adoption of the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Polish Competition Watchdog fines UPC Polska for providing false information in merger review

"In December 2010 UPC applied to the Office for the consent to acquire Aster. The President of UOKiK addressed the undertaking to complete the notification inter alia with providing information if the company and the to-be-acquired entity possessed any reports, analyses or marketing enquiry concerning the access market to pay TV in Poland. During the proceedings it turned out that UPC concealed the market analysis containing significant information for the examined transaction.

The document not revealed by the company confirmed inter alia the opinion of UOKiK stating that the concentration would have a significant impact on local markets of particular cities. This was contrary to the stance of UPC Polska, which claimed during the pending proceedings that the market of pay TV is at nationwide level. It is worth emphasizing here that the Office’s waiting time for submitting the report greatly influenced the length of proceedings concerning the control of concentration.

UPC Polska was imposed a fine amounting to PLN 775 thousand (the equivalent of EUR 175 466.40) for providing false information regarding possessing key documents for the pending proceedings. The decision is not final and can be appealed against to the court
" (see UOKiK's full press release).

MCA issues final 2012 Annual Plan and 2012 - 2014 Strategic Plan

The Maltese regulator has issued its final 2012 Annual Plan (see page) and 2012 - 2014 Strategic Plan (see page).

Maltese NRA consults on Broadband QoS Framework

MCA launched a consultation on Quality of Service Framework in respect of broadband Internet services to addresses the following three objectives:

- the identification of a minimum number of parameters considered suitable to characterise a broadband Internet service;
- the establishment of the relevant methodology to measure these parameters; and
- the establishment of a set of obligations that will be incumbent on ISPs and which will establish with a level of confidence, that the service available to the subscriber is the service contracted" (see MCA's relative page).

Exceptional increase in portability requests after Free's launch, causes ARCEP's intervention

"Since 12th January 2012, both the EGP (Entité de gestion de la portabilité) economic interest group (EIG) - which is the entity common to electronic communications operators in charge of managing the mobile number portability process in France - and mobile operators have been contending with an exceptional increase in portability requests, following the launch of Free Mobile's services. The number of requests being treated has in fact risen from 12,000 a day, which was the average in 2011, to 40,000 a day, which is the current system's maximum capacity.

On 13th January, ARCEP informed the EGP EIG of the urgent need to implement all of the means necessary to handle this exceptional surge in the number of portability requests.

The Authority therefore welcomes the fact that on Friday, 27th January, with ARCEP present, the EGP EIG and operators agreed in principle to increase the system's processing capacity to 80,000 portability requests per day, in an incremental fashion to avoid putting the mobile number portability system in France in peril. ARCEP also invites operators to increase the capacity of their respective information systems proportionately.

Furthermore, in a letter dated 30th January 2012, the Chairman of ARCEP reminded the portability management entity and the member operators on its board of directors that, in accordance with the applicable texts, they must ensure compliance with the principle of non-discrimination and provide consumers with clear and transparent information on how mobile number portability requests are processed
" (see ARCEP's full press release).

OFCOM reviews the management of spectrum across a number of bands between 1.4 GHz and 86 GHz that are currently available to fixed links

"Ofcom has initiated a Review to consider whether we should make changes to spectrum management policy across a number of bands between 1.4 GHz and 86 GHz that are currently available to fixed links. A total bandwidth of 12GHz spread across fourteen different bands is managed by Ofcom with access available via one of a number of fixed link licence products that are subject to close technical coordination; it is these bands which form the core focus of this review. As a first step we are focusing on the likely drivers of changes in demand for these spectrum bands over the next 5 to 10 years. We expect subsequently to consider possible changes to the way these bands are managed" (see OFCOM's relative page).

Local Court of Bonn strengthens leniency programme

"Bonn, 30 January 2012: Today it was announced that the local court (Amtsgericht) in Bonn has decided in the decor paper case that Pfleiderer AG will not be granted access to the leniency applications of the cartel participants. This decision has far reaching consequences for the future practice of the Bundeskartellamt in the prosecution of hard-core cartels. With its decision the court affirmed the Bundeskartellamt's view that leniency applications are subject to particularly strict confidentiality" (see Bundeskartellamt's full press release).

MCA issues trial licenses for MCA

The Maltese regulator, has issued test & trial licenses as regards the provision of mobile communication on board aircrafts (see MCA's press release).

French regulator declares will to closely monitor on Free's coverage obligation

"...for the sake of transparency and peace of mind, ARCEP decided it would be useful to ask Free Mobile to provide an updated version of the information on the status of its network, including the list of installed towers and those that have been activated, and the reasons for shutting off some of the towers in its network, should this indeed be the case. ARCEP will examine this information with the utmost care.

Taking the supplied elements into consideration, ARCEP will then perform verifications in the field using the same method as the one employed for previous checks, and the results will be made public.

ARCEP also wanted to inform the Minister responsible for Industry, Energy and the Digital Economy that it thought it advisable - both in general and as part of the recent request for increased cooperation between ARCEP and ANFR (the national frequency agency, operating under the aegis of the ministry) - that ANFR technical resources be employed to facilitate ARCEP's verifications of mobile operators' network coverage
" (see ARCEP's full press release).

OFCOM decides in final to renew Arqiva's licenses for multiplexes c and d for 12 years

OFCOM has finally decided to renew Arqiva's "licences for a period of 12 years without requiring additional obligations relating to: (a) the coverage of the service; and/or (b) promoting the acquisition of DTT receiving equipment. They will also not require Arqiva to pay a PMR in respect of the BA Licences" (see OFCOM's relative page().

OFCOM issues Notice of proposals to make the Wireless Telegraphy (Licence Charges) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

UK's regulator, consults "on draft regulations that will change the fees for some WT Act licences – including AIP for Aeronautical in line with the policy statement in July 2011 and second phased increase for Maritime users" (see OFCOM's relative page).

Commission opens proceedings against Samsung

"The European Commission has opened a formal investigation to assess whether Samsung Electronics has abusively, and in contravention of a commitment it gave to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), used certain of its standard essential patent rights to distort competition in European mobile device markets, in breach of EU antitrust rules. The opening of proceedings means that the Commission will examine the case as a matter of priority. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

In 2011, Samsung sought injunctive relief in various Member States' courts against competing mobile device makers based on alleged infringements of certain of its patent rights which it has declared essential to implement European mobile telephony standards. The Commission will investigate, in particular, whether in doing so Samsung has failed to honour its irrevocable commitment given in 1998 to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to license any standard essential patents relating to European mobile telephony standards on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. The Commission will examine whether such behaviour amounts to an abuse of a dominant position prohibited by Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU).

In line with the Commission's Guidelines on standardisation agreements (see IP/10/1702 and MEMO/10/676), standard setting organisations, including ETSI, require the owners of patents that are essential for the implementation of a standard to commit to license these patents on FRAND terms. This commitment serves to ensure effective access to the standardised technology. Such commitments were given to ETSI by many patent holders, including Samsung, when the third generation ("3G") mobile and wireless telecommunications system standards were adopted in Europe.

In order to guarantee undistorted competition and to reap the positive economic effects of standardisation it is important that FRAND commitments be fully honoured by the concerned undertakings
" (see the Commission's full press release).