INTUG was a participating panellist in a well-attended workshop in Stockholm on 26 February 2014, hosted by Goran Marby, BEREC Chairman and Head of the Swedish NRA. Delegates came from NRAs, the European Commission, the European Parliament, network operators and a wide range of other industry players. In a lively debate, arguments for (ECTA and INTUG) and against (ETNO) continuing sector-specific regulation were aired. FTTH Europe, Cable Europe and VON were also on the panel.
Anthony Whelan from the European Commission introduced the panel debate, summarising the latest recommendation. Nick White, Executive Vice President of INTUG, explained business user concerns and spoked up for sector-specific, ex-ante regulation aimed at improving the overall EU economy, rather than just the telecom sector. Key points from his comments include:
- Business users are uneasy about a policy intended to continue reducing the number of regulated markets, which highlights the absence of effective competition for business services, especially in mobile.
- INTUG welcomes the proposed Market 4, which will focus on high quality wholesale services for business users, and urges BEREC and NRAs to consider how they might review the international market
- There is a continuing commitment to PSTN by most corporates, making withdrawal of this regulated market risky.
- Innovation will always tend to go beyond first-mover advantage towards establishing barriers to entry that will not be removed by competition law alone.
- There are short term bottlenecks that need removing, such as the use of the hard SIM card (which cannot continue for M2M), and the exclusive 4G operator deals for Apple iPhones which inhibit business usage and choice.
- The Commission Recommendation on Relevant Markets is a minimum for NRAs, and individual NRAs should continue to review all markets that demonstrate a lack of competition.
BEREC are committed to continuing these useful events to gather the widest range of stakeholder inputs, he concluded.