QuickLinks - Telecommunications
QuickLinks - Telecommunications
Issue no. 381 - 8 December 2007
- EU - Europe's evolving single market for telecoms
The future challenges of cooperation between the European Commission and National Regulatory Authorities. Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. Dinner at the Conference "Is it the right TIME?"- The future regulation of the Telecom, Informatics, Media and Entertainment sector in the EU. Budapest, 26 November 2007.
- EU - Regulators and EU agree over splitting telecoms companies
At a meeting with top officials of the Italian regulatory authority for telecommunications, Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding was determined to introduce functional separation as a "last-resort remedy" in telecoms liberalisation. Reding reaffirmed her conviction that "national telecoms regulators should be given this tool that can promote both competition and investment". She stressed, however, that the disputed splitting-up of telecoms incumbents should be applied only as a "last-resort remedy to address the stubborn cases where other remedies have failed".
- EU - Telecoms Reform 2007: Better, more consistent rules for effective competition and sustainable investment
Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, 8th Annual ECTA Regulatory Conference, Brussels, 28 November 2007
Issue no. 380 - 30 September 2007
- EU - Leading countries oppose a regulatory body for telecom markets
The dispute about the creation of an EU regulatory body for European telecom markets is escalating. In a joint letter to the EU commission, Germany and five other EU states have voiced their opposition to such a European super authority. There is no need for "institutional reform", they write in their letter, which was signed by representatives of German, French, British, Spanish, and Swedish economic ministries. A representative of the State Ministry signed on behalf of Luxembourg.
Issue no. 377 - 5 July 2007
Issue no. 374 - 1 April 2007
- EU - 116: Commission launches public consultation to identify Europe-wide freephone services
The Commission has launched today a public consultation to identify common Europe-wide telephone services of social value that could benefit from single European freephone numbers starting with 116. The consultation will run until 20 May 2007. The public consultation is the next step after the Commission's Decision of 15 February requiring Member States to reserve the six-digit number range starting with 116 for services of social value in Europe. This Decision also reserved the first such number, 116000, for hotlines for missing children. The consultation seeks to identify other services that may also benefit from a single Europe-wide number. Once the Commission has decided which numbers should be reserved for which services, it will be for Member States to assign the numbers to individual organisations within their territory.
Issue no. 373 - 11 March 2007
Issue no. 372 - 25 February 2007
Issue no. 371 - 28 January 2007
- EU - Commission takes steps to enforce EU telecom rules against France, Poland, Slovakia and Latvia
In a new round of proceedings against possible infringements of EU telecom rules, the European Commission has opened two new infringement cases against Poland. The Commission is also sending a reasoned opinion to Slovakia and Latvia, opening the second stage of infringement proceedings. The Commission is referring two Member States (France and Poland) to the European Court of Justice and closing one case against Latvia.
Issue no. 370 - 3 December 2006
- DE - German government reaches agreement on Telecommunications Act
The governing coalition of the CDU/CSU and the SPD has reached an agreement on amendments to the Telecommunications Act. The provisions to temporarily exempt new markets from regulation in the government's draft had "only been slightly modified." The dispute with the EU Commission is about to heat up. The Commission's legal experts believe that investigations into the legality of the revisions are inevitable if the bill takes effect in its current version.
- EU - Commission asks UK regulator not to include 3G auction costs in mobile phone termination rates
In a letter sent to the Office of Communications ('Ofcom', the UK telecom watchdog), the European Commission expresses concerns as to how wholesale tariffs, charged by the five UK mobile operators for terminating calls to their customers, have been assessed. In the Commission's view, Ofcom's proposed tariffs keep termination values higher than necessary due to 3G spectrum cost valuations which risk overestimating the costs.
- EU - From Service Competition to Infrastructure Competition: the Policy Options Now on the Table
Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, ECTA Conference 2006, Brussels, 16 November 2006.
- LU - L'accès large bande au Luxembourg seront davantage ouverts à la concurrence
Dans une lettre au régulateur luxembourgeois des télécommunications, l'Institut Luxembourgeois de Régulation ("ILR"), la Commission européenne accepte une mesure réglementaire proposée par l'LR et qui donnera aux nouveaux opérateurs sur le marché un accès à large bande (ou accès « bitstream ») aux clients finaux à travers les réseaux à haut débit de l'EPT (Entreprise des Postes et Télécommunications), l'opérateur historique de télécommunications au Luxembourg. La Commission salue en particulier le fait que le remède proposé garantit un accès large bande indépendant de la technologie utilisée par l´EPT (ADSL2, ADSL2+ et VDSL).
Issue no. 369 - 5 November 2006
- EU - Picture of competition in EU telecoms now virtually complete
The Commission has assessed 500 notifications from Member States reviewing competition in their electronic communications markets. The most recent EETT notification concerned low speed narrowband access to fixed telephone networks in Greece. The Commission now has a clearer picture of the state of competition in all Member States, in time for the review of the regulatory framework.
Issue no. 368 - 15 October 2006
- EU - Commission requests more market data on the German wholesale leased lines markets
The Commission has informed the German telecom regulator Bundesnetzagentur ("BNetzA") that it has serious doubts as regards the compatibility of the notified draft measures for the German wholesale leased lines markets with Community law. It will call for and assess further market data from BNetzA and market players. On the basis of the additional data received, the Commission will decide whether BNetzA will need to withdraw or whether it can adopt the proposed regulatory measure.
- EU telecoms rules: 9 new infringement cases opened, while 8 cases go into the second round
The European Commission has opened nine new infringement cases against Member States for possible infringements of EU telecoms rules. The Commission is also sending a reasoned opinion, thereby opening the second stage of infringement proceedings, to eight Member States. The majority of cases in this new round concern a failure to complete market reviews to assess the status of competition on national telecom markets or the lack of caller location information to emergency authorities. The Commission also closed 9 cases, following satisfactory implementation of EU legislation in the Member States concerned. see also New round of infringement proceedings in electronic communications: What are the issues?
- How Europe's struggling telecoms incumbents compare
Eight years after their industry was liberalised and five years after a financial crisis that brought some close to collapse, Europe's big telecoms incumbents face troubled times. Telecom Italia's woes - slowing growth in mobile telephony, a decline in core fixed-line revenues, a growing threat from upstart competitors, huge debts and government intrusion - are common to its dinosaur-like peers in other European countries.
Issue no. 366 - 3 September 2006
- EU / DE - Web prices may drop in Germany after pact
(International Herald Tribune)
The European Commission, ending part of a three-year dispute with Germany, is scheduled to announce an agreement requiring Deutsche Telekom to sell wholesale access to its residential phone network, raising competition in Europe's largest market. The accord could force Telekom, still 31.3-percent owned by the German government, to make broadband Internet access available to competitors by the end of the year. If rivals take up the offer, the move would almost certainly lower prices for fast Internet subscriptions in Germany, where the technology has been slower to catch on under the market dominance of Deutsche Telekom.
- EU / DE - Commission endorses German broadband regulation
The Commission endorses, with comments, a regulatory measure proposed by German telecom regulator Bundesnetzagentur ("BNetzA") that will give new market entrants high-speed access to end-customers (or bitstream access) via the broadband networks of Deutsche Telekom. This measure is meant to remedy the position of dominance of Deutsche Telekom on the German broadband market. The Commission welcomes in particular that the remedy proposed now requires bitstream access regardless of the technology used by Deutsche Telekom (ADSL2, ADSL2+, SDSL and VDSL). In its comments, the Commission asks the German regulator to ensure that the remedy is applied without further delay, in line with EU law, and that final clarifications are made in the interest of legal certainty on the German broadband market. see Frequently Asked Questions.
- EU telecoms reform: Commission continues debate with three studies
The Commission made public three studies which should serve as "food for thought" in the ongoing review of the 2002 EU telecoms rules. The Commission has already published a Communication on the review of the regulatory framework for electronic communications, a Staff Working Paper and an Impact Assessment. The studies deal with some of the key subjects of the review process: growth and investment in the EU electronic communications sector, regulatory reform and the state of competition in the electronic communications markets.
Issue no. 364 - 7 July 2006
- EU - Consultation on regulatory framework for electronic communications
The Commission is launching today a public consultation on policy options for updating the EU's telecom rules of 2002, the 'regulatory framework for electronic communications'. The Commission notes substantial progress since 2002 in opening up national telecom markets to competition and proposes to phase out ex-ante regulation in at least 6 of the existing 18 telecoms market segments, including those for national and international calls. For those markets where competition is not yet effective (such as the crucial broadband supply market), the Commission wants EU rules applied more effectively, so as to step up competition throughout the single market. The Commission thereby takes a clear stance against the idea of "regulatory holidays" for incumbent operators. The Commission also advocates moving towards a common, more market-based, approach to allocating the radio spectrum needed for innovative services and devices to work EU-wide. The Commission?s target is for the new rules to be fully transposed into national laws by 2010. See The Review 2006 of the EU?s regulatory framework for electronic communications: Frequently Asked Questions.
- EU - The Review 2006 of EU Telecom rules
Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. The Review 2006 of EU Telecom rules: Strengthening Competition and Completing the Internal Market. Annual Meeting of BITKOM, Brussels, Bibliothèque Solvay, 27 June 2006.
Issue no. 361 - 23 May 2006
- EU Threatens Legal Action Against Germany Over Broadband
Germany appears determined to pass a new telecommunications law that critics say would give Deutsche Telekom a monopoly over broadband connections. The EU has threatened legal action. Shortly after Germany's cabinet agreed on the new telecommunications law, Viviane Reding, the European Union commissioner for information society and media warned that she would not accept the legislation. If passed by the Bundestag, the legislation would exempt Deutsche Telekom's planned 3 billion ($3.9 billion) broadband network from price regulation. Competitors would not be allowed to use the network for years.
Issue no. 358 - 21 April 2006
Issue no. 357 - 26 March 2006
- Telecom Demand: Measures for Improving Affordability
(World Dialogue on Regulation)
This project has focused on developing a better understanding of affordability as key to understanding telecom demand which, in turn, is central to sound business cases for investment and the achievement of network development in developing countries. The series of papers includes the main report by Claire Milne, a paper by Sebastian Ureta on variations in expenditure on communications, a case study by Sangeeth Varghese of Reliance Infocomm, and a paper by Jeffery Wheatley on price elasticity of demand.
Issue no. 356 - 27 February 2006
Issue no. 355 - 5 February 2006
- EU - Brussels 'sceptical' on telecoms draft law
The European Commission turned up the heat in a simmering row with Berlin when it said a German draft law to exempt new telecoms services from regulation might break EU law and needed to be changed. The German government had earlier presented a draft of a new Telecoms Act, which would allow its regulator to postpone policing new services on planned ultra-fast internet lines if competition was safe 'in the long term'.
Issue no. 354 - 31 January 2006
- EU - Commission endorses Spanish measure on MVNOs
The European Commission has endorsed a measure proposed by the Spanish national telecom regulator Comisión del Mercado de las telecomunicaciones´ (CMT) to regulate the market for mobile access and call origination in Spain, but also asked the Spanish regulator to keep the market development under close review. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) will be granted access to the networks of the three Spanish mobile telephony operators Telefónica, Vodafone and Amena. MVNOs are operators that offer mobile telephony services using network infrastructure leased from other mobile telephony operators.
Issue no. 353 - 15 January 2006
- EU - Commission approves decision of the German regulator to open up broadband markets
The European Commission approved the amended (proposal by the German telecoms regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) on the market for wholesale broadband access. Following serious doubts expressed by the Commission on 11 November 2005 with regard to the exclusion of VDSL from the market, BNetzA amended its proposal by including it. Broadband access or "bitstream" allows new entrants to provide their own broadband services (such as high speed internet access, internet telephony or IP television) to end-users by controlling the quality of the products to a high degree.
Issue no. 352 - 18 December 2005
- EU - Telecoms: Commission opens new round of infringement proceedings
In a further round of infringement proceedings concerning the EU's telecom rules, the European Commission has decided to take Sweden and Poland to the European Court of Justice for failing to implement EU rules on electronic communications. In 12 cases from the previous infringement rounds, the Commission has sent reasoned opinions (step two in the infringement procedure under Article 226 of the EC Treaty) to the Czech Republic (2), France, Greece, Latvia, Malta, Poland (2), Slovakia, Germany, Finland and the UK. In addition, the Commission has sent letters of formal notice (step one in the infringement procedure ? failure of a Member State to fulfill an obligation) to the UK, Portugal, Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Lithuania. At the same time, the European Commission is closing 9 cases from previous infringement rounds, as the Member States concerned have meanwhile ensured effective implementation of the EU framework for electronic communications. see also Infringement proceedings in the field of electronic communications: What are the issues at stake?
Issue no. 350 - 4 December 2005
- EU - Call for input on the forthcoming review of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications and services
Call for input on the forthcoming review of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications and services, including review of the Recommendation on relevant markets. Deadline 31 January 2006. The Commission Services invite interested parties to give their views on possible changes to the five EP and Council directives that constitute the current EU framework for electronic communications, and to the Recommendation on relevant markets. See consultation document. A public workshop is provisionally planned for Tuesday 24 January 2006 in Brussels. The workshop will be open to all interested parties, but prior registration is required.
Issue no. 346 - 2 October 2005
- EU - Commission proposes advancing the single market for radio spectrum use
The European Commission has presented a new EU strategy for an optimal use of radio spectrum in Europe. Radio spectrum is a critical input for many sectors relying on wireless transmission such as broadcasting, transport systems and mobile telephony. Spectrum rights in bands used for "terrestrial electronic communication services" (including mobile, broadcasting and data communications) should be tradable. This would mean that, in those specific bands, a licence to use spectrum could be freely transferred between holders, so that they can make an informed choice on where in the spectrum they want to operate and whether the cost of the spectrum right makes this worthwhile. Whoever holds a spectrum right should also be able to choose how it is used, so long as they do not interfere with other users. This will make it easier for innovators to access spectrum and to position their innovation in the part of the spectrum where it stands the best chance of being successful. see also A New EU Radio Spectrum Strategy: Frequently Asked Questions
Issue no. 344 - 18 September 2005
- EU - The review of the regulatory framework for e-Communications
Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, 1st Meeting of the Centre for European Policy Studies Taskforce on Electronic Communications. Brussels, 15 September 2005.
- EU - Voice over broadband in France: no regulation on internet telephony required
The European Commission has endorsed the plans of French national telecoms regulator ARCEP to boost competition in fixed-line telephony markets. The Commission agrees that ARCEP's regulatory approach to Internet telephony is an efficient way to encourage competition between internet carriers of telephone traffic and traditional telephone networks, but also calls upon it to monitor this part of the retail market closely for any anti-competitive practices and if necessary intervene to remedy them
Issue no. 343 - 4 September 2005
- DE - Commission helps to secure improved competitive conditions for line sharing
Following action by the European Commission`s Competition Directorate-General, Deutsche Telekom (DT) has recently changed an application to the German telecoms regulator Bundesnetzagentur for the approval of wholesale fees it charges its competitors for shared access to the local loop (line sharing). The action ensured that DT complies with commitments it had given the Commission to terminate a presumed abuse of dominant position in form of a margin squeeze.
- EU - Comments on universal service
76 contributions were received to the public consultation on Communication COM(2005)203 of 24 May 2005 on the Review on the Scope of Universal Service in electronic communications. Contributors include ministries, regulatory authorities, consumer and user associations, individuals, operators, service providers, manufacturers and other businesses and organizations.
- EU - Commission authorises for one year broadband regulation in France as step towards more competition
France Télécom will be required to provide, for a transitional period, market players with wholesale nationwide high-speed access to France´s telecoms network. This regulatory measure, proposed by the French national regulatory authority for electronic communications, ARCEP, was authorised today by the European Commission. The measure will apply until competing network operators have built a sufficiently wide backbone network and a large enough customer base to enable them to invest further in regional high-speed (broadband) services, such as access to the web and services connecting subscribers´ premises to the network (local loops). The Commission asked ARCEP to review this market again within a year to fully take account of new market developments which could enhance competition in the wholesale nationwide broadband market in France.
- UK - Ofcom deregulates RFID
Communications watchdog Ofcom will be making radio spectrum available for use by Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) equipment, and that those using the new technology would not need a wireless telegraphy licence. The country's privacy watchdog - the Information Commissioner - has also clarified data protection implications of using RFID.
- UK - Net providers cutting ties with BT
Some Internet providers are considering cutting their ties with BT altogether and offering broadband via their own equipment. The process, known as Local Loop Unbundling (LLU), gives control of part of the network which connects customer to their local exchange to BT's rivals. The French Internet Service Provider (ISP) Wanadoo has announced it will trial the technology this summer.
Issue no. 342 - 31 July 2005
- EU - Commission warns on cost of roaming
The European Commission is warning consumers about the high cost of using their mobile phones while abroad. Known as "international roaming charges", these prices have been for some time already a concern both to the Commission and national regulators. The Commission is not satisfied that the prices to be paid by consumers already reflect the result of effective competition. The Commission therefore will take measures to enhance the transparency of international mobile roaming charges to allow consumers the choice of the best offer. The Commission will start publishing, from autumn 2005 onwards, a special website listing samples of international roaming retail tariffs of operators in the 25 EU Member States.
Issue no. 340 - 23 June 2005
- FR - L'ART devient officiellement l'Arcep
Ce changement était programmé depuis le début de l'année: l'Autorité de régulation des télécoms (ART) s'appelle désormais Arcep, nouvel acronyme pour Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des postes. Un nom de baptème officiel depuis la promulgation au Journal officiel de la loi relative à la régulation des activités postales, intervenue le 21 mai. Ce texte donne de nouvelles prérogatives à l'Arcep: en plus de la régulation des télécoms, l'organisme devra gérer celle du secteur des postes, appelé à s'ouvrir à la concurrence d'ici à 2009.
Issue no. 338 - 7 May 2005
- EU - Commission launches infringement proceedings against ten Member States
The Commission has launched legal proceedings against ten EU Member States to remedy infringements of EU rules on electronic communications. It points to defects in national laws, and incorrect practical application of EU rules, in Germany, Italy, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Finland. The opening of these proceedings follows concerns identified in the Commission's Implementation Reports on the electronic communications sector.
- FR - Competition Authority backs Regulator's MVNO push
The French Competition Authority (The Conseil de la Concurrence) has published its decision endorsing the French telecommunications regulator's move to mandate the dominant mobile operators to open up their networks to Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs).
- UK - Ofcom crackdown on phone line slamming
All companies selling fixed-line telecoms services will be required to draw up Codes of Practice for sales and marketing following action by the regulator for the UK's telecoms industries on mis-selling in the sector. Ofcom is particularly concerned about "slamming" - where consumers are switched from one supplier to another without their knowledge and consent, usually after a cold-call from the new supplier. see Statement and Notification on protecting citizens and consumers from mis-selling of fixed-line telecoms services (Ofcom);
Issue no. 337 - 13 April 2005
- UK - Select Committee endorses Ofcom's telecoms review
The House of Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee has publishes its report on its inquiry into Ofcom?s Strategic Review of Telecommunications. During its inquiry, the Committee focussed on how Ofcom has addressed some of the issues the Committee raised last year in its Report on The UK Broadband Market.
Issue no. 336 - 3 April 2005
- EU - Commission recommends leased line price ceilings
Prices for wholesale leased lines, which are a key source of broadband services for businesses should reflect the real cost of supplying them, says the European Commission. In a recommendation to Member States, the Commission reports on "best current practices" in wholesale leased line pricing and provides competitive market benchmark prices for the entire EU, in order to help Member States to devise regulatory remedies for leased line markets that are not effectively competitive on their territory. The EU single market for electronic communication services is distorted by substantial variations in leased line prices (for a 2 Mbit/s line, 5 km long, the price in the most expensive Member State is seven times higher than in the cheapest), which are hard to explain in terms of possible underlying costs. See also explanatory memorandum;
Issue no. 335 - 20 March 2005
Issue no. 330 - 30 January 2005
- EU - High-speed network connections: Recommendation on the provision of leased lines
Binding delivery deadlines should be introduced for the wholesale leased lines needed by suppliers of high-speed electronic communications services, says the European Commission in a recommendation to Member States. The recommendation sets out "best current practices" for leased line delivery times. The Commission also calls on national regulatory authorities to ensure that binding delivery times and penalties for not meeting them are included in wholesale leased line contracts offered by operators with significant market power to leased line retailers. Leased line delivery times vary substantially across the EU: for 2 Mbit/s lines, the delivery time in the slowest Member State is five times longer than in the fastest. See also Explanatory memorandum.
Index page see also Audiovisual | Convergence
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