The Government Gazette of Malta, No. 17,652 of 14 Sep 2004 contained the Electronic Communications (Regulation) Act (Cap. 399) and a number of associated acts amending and partially repealing previous telecommunications and related legislation, and previously applicable secondary regulations.

The legislative change, which is effective as from 14 Sep 2004, transposed the EU Framework Directive, the Authorisation Directive, the Access and Interconnection Directive and the Universal Service and Users' Rights Directive into Maltese law.

Under the new regulatory regime (Article 41 of the new Act), individual licences are no longer required for telecommunications activities (the right to use certain frequencies does remain the subject of an individual licensing procedure). Existing market participants are required to re-notify their activities to the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) within 90 days from 14 Sep 2004, and will then be included in the new "Register of Authorised Undertakings".

A notification form, applicable for existing and for new providers of electronic communications networks and services, has been made available by the MCA. The form can be accessed by clicking here.

The MCA announced on 15 Sep 2004 that it has not yet initiated the process of market definition, market analysis, SMP designation, and definition of regulatory obligations ('remedies'), but that it is in the process of developing "the methodology to be adopted for the performance of the market analyses". 

A consultation on this methodology will be launched shortly. Ad interim, the old legislation governing "Dominant Market Position" (DMP) on the telecommunications market, will remain valid. Measures adopted under the old legislation will be withdrawn or amended once the market analysis under the new framework is completed. 

The Telecommunications Appeals Board will remain in existence, but will be merged with the Postal Appeals Board and will continue as the Communications Appeals Board. Pending cases which are still under review by the Appeals Board will be determined on the basis of the old regulatory framework.

For further details on the implications of the revised regulatory framework in Malta, please contact Alexa Veller.