BEREC Consults: ECTA suggests competition
16 October 2014: Today ECTA participated in the 2nd BEREC Stakeholder Forum Meeting, which aimed at consulting end-users and market players on three important topics: BEREC’s Strategy 2015-2017 and Work Programme for 2015, Margin Squeeze test and a future model for roaming.
ECTA welcomes BEREC’s efforts to foster an open discussion amongst stakeholders and appreciates this opportunity to express its views.
Asked to speak about BEREC Work Programme and Strategy ECTA strongly supported BEREC’s priorities: promoting competition and investment, promoting the internal market and empowering end-users.
Erzsébet Fitori, Director of ECTA said: "The biggest enemy of Europe’s global competitiveness would be the return to monopolies and closed oligopolies. Whilst today Europe is a world leader in basic broadband thanks to its pro-competitive policies, there is a real risk that European end-users and the economy will lose the competitive gains of the last decade”.
In next generation broadband the former monopolies are re-monopolising the market with a staggering over 80% market share. Promoting competition is more important today than ever as it is sustainable and effective competition that drives investments, end-user benefits and fuels the economy. Sluggish competition can only result in sluggish economic growth. ECTA warns that premature deregulation and the reduction of competitive pressure on the national markets is the surest recipe to undermine Europe’s competitiveness.
Today Europe is not lagging behind in terms of broadband performance, and this is largely due to a well-functioning framework delivering competition. Thus, in order to avoid falling behind and introducing a new digital divide in the transition to NGA, ECTA emphasises the necessity of ensuring a strongly pro-competitive environment. The key tools to be put to work are access to physical assets, and other fit for purpose wholesale products.
At times of technological transition it is typical that dominant companies attempt to squeeze out competition by abusing and leveraging their market power. In the transition to basic broadband most former monopolist telcos were found guilty of such abuse, seriously harming end-users. In the transition to NGA we could learn from history and prevent abuse and end-user harm by using effective ex-ante margin squeeze tests. Such tests should examine dominant operator’s behaviour from the perspective of the competitor in order to ensure that competition is delivering benefits to the economy and society in a sustainable manner.
Challenger operators support the abolition of excessive roaming charges and the gradual path towards a ‘roam-like-at-home’ environment in order to create a positive roaming experience for travelling end-users. In this context we advocate clarity on the rules both at the retail and wholesale level with a progressive and reasonable timeframe for operators to do the legwork of making ‘roam-like-at-home’ happen. It is important that regulation enables all operators to offer ‘roam-like-at-home’ to their customers and is designed in a way that safeguards competition.
In conclusion ECTA would like to reaffirm the importance of consistent and solid regulation fostering competition and innovation. We should not forget that networks are local and that global competitiveness thus springs from local competition. If you want to act global, then first think local!
 According to the 2014 Digital Agenda Scoreboard on Broadband markets, incumbents have over 80% of subscriptions in VDSL
 E.g. European Commission states: Deutsche Telekom was fined for charging unfair prices (margin squeeze) in the German broadband market (IP/03/717); Telefonica was fined for the same conduct in the Spanish broadband market (IP/07/1011); Telekomunikacja Polska (IP/11/771) was sanctioned for having applied unfair terms and conditions and hindered competitors in accessing its network infrastructure (refusal to supply) in order to provide broadband retail services in Poland.
ECTA (the European Competitive Telecommunications Association - www.ectaportal.com) is the pan-European pro-competitive trade association that represents more than 100 of the leading challenger telecoms operators across Europe. For over a decade, ECTA has been supporting the regulatory and commercial interests of telecoms operators, ISPs & equipment manufacturers in pursuit of a fair regulatory environment that allows all electronic communications providers to compete on level terms. Our members have been the leading innovators in Internet services, broadband, business communications, entertainment and mobile.
Contact: Aurélie Bladocha, Public Affairs Manager
(+32 2 290.01.04/ firstname.lastname@example.org)