Today, the European Commission issued two essential public consultation documents (and associated documents), which are of key importance given that they contain proposals which will structure the future regulatory framework for electronic communications from 2007 onwards.
The documents in question are a proposal for a revised Recommendation on Relevant Markets Susceptible to Ex-Ante Regulation (to be valid from the first quarter of 2007) and indications of proposed revisions to be made to the EU directives on Electronic Communications (to be valid from 2009 onwards, although more likely in the next century, depending on the timetable for adoption by the EU institutions and transposition into the national legislation of EU Member States).
The deadline for filing responses for both consultations is set at 27 Oct 2006.
The proposed revision of the Recommendation on Relevant Markets Susceptible to Ex-Ante Regulation now contains 12 identified markets, although it is clear that some of these markets are most likely to be further segmented by National Regulatory Authorities.
The list is as follows:
1. Access to the public telephone network at a fixed location for residential and nonresidential customers.
T-REGS Note: this implies that all retail telephone calls markets (3 to 6) are proposed to be removed, and that the retail leased lines market is proposed to be removed.
2. Call termination on individual public telephone networks provided at a fixed location.
For the purposes of this Recommendation, call termination is taken to include local call conveyance and delineated in such a way as to be consistent with the delineated boundaries for the markets for call origination and for call transit on the public telephone network provided at a fixed location.
3. Call origination on the public telephone network provided at a fixed location.
For the purposes of this Recommendation, call origination is taken to include local call conveyance and delineated in such a way as to be consistent with the delineated boundaries for the markets for call transit and for call termination on the public telephone network provided at a fixed location.
4. Transit services in the fixed public telephone network.
For the purposes of this Recommendation, the boundaries of this market should be delineated in such a way as to be consistent with the delineated boundaries for the markets for call origination and for call termination on the public telephone network provided at a fixed location.
5. Wholesale unbundled access (including shared access) to metallic loops and subloops (or equivalent) for the purpose of providing broadband and voice services.
6. Wholesale broadband access.
This market covers ‘bit-stream’ access that permit the transmission of broadband data in both directions and other wholesale access provided over other infrastructures, if and when they offer facilities equivalent to bit-stream access.
7. Wholesale terminating segments of leased lines.
8. Wholesale trunk segments of leased lines
9. Voice call and SMS termination on individual mobile networks.
T-REGS Note: This includes, for the first time, wholesale SMS termination, and follows the proposals of the French regulatory authority ARCEP to define a separate market for wholesale SMS termination. It will be interesting to see whether NRAs will (if it is adopted as such) examine the market as defined by the Commission, or further segment this market.
10. Access and call origination on public mobile telephone networks*
11. Wholesale national market for international roaming on public mobile networks.
12. Broadcasting transmission services, to deliver broadcast content to end users*.
* The Commission notes that the number of notifications for these markets has been relatively limited (various analyses by the NRAs are still on-going). In view thereof and the complexity of issues raised, the Commission seeks particularly the stakeholders’ view on whether these markets should be retained in the revised version on the Recommendation.
The full text of the proposed revisions to the Recommendation on Relevant Markets (51 pages) containing the full text of the proposed Recommendation, the list of markets, and the proposed explanatory memorandum can be accessed by clicking here.
As regards the 2006 Review of the Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications, the European Commission published three separate documents, which we have made clickable on the T-REGS website:
For a discussion of these documents, and of the associated process of consultation and decision-making leading up to the adoption of revisions to the regulatory framework, in the European Union, please contact Yves Blondeel.