European Competitive Telecommunications Association


James Allen, Partner, Analysys Mason welcomes everyone to the conference


Gijs Phoelich, ECTA Chairman introduces the conference

Gijs Phoelich

KEYNOTE SPEECH: Minister Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Post and Telecommunications for Belgium

  • High speed connectivity is key for the digital agenda. Belgium is one of the best in Europe for speed, with 2 fully-fledged fixed networks across the country.
  • We need investments, competition and service competition to offer gigabit speeds. Competition drives investment, innovation, traffic and the need for further investment.
  • We need to ensure that NRAs have the right tools to balance investment and service competition and tackle emerging duopolies: for instance, now in Belgium we see operators doing synchronised swimming.
  • Legislation and government should have an open role on technology. Net Neutrality principles can ensure that innovation is inclusive and does not provide for opportunities to hamper competition.
  • 5G going to be central in the development for next years. Belgium was slow in implementing 3G and 4G but we want to be one of the first countries in Europe where 5G is rolled out.

Minister De Croo

SESSION 1 - What policies for the ‘Internet of Everything’?

Chair: Jacques Bughin, Senior Partner, McKinsey and Director, McKinsey Global Institute

Thibault Kleiner, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, European Commission
Harold Smeeman, Director Business Development, Eurofiber Holding BV
John E. Frank, Vice President, EU Government Affairs, Microsoft Corporation
Dr. Thierry Lestable, Vice-Chairman, The LoRa™ Alliance
Dr. Abayomi Otubushin, Corporate and Governmental Affairs, Representative Office Brussels, BMW Group

  • Internet was born as an Internet of links, which then evolved into an internet of people and now an internet of things is emerging. 4-11 USD trillion value created by IoT, linked to its business uses. 15% of the value will accrue to the supply chain, 85% will be consumer surplus: regulation’s aim is not only to ensure competition but also for the maximisation of user surplus.
  • Digitalisation and connectivity are the key enablers for future mobility.
  • Roaming and international standardisation are critical to enable IoT to thrive.
  • ECTA and some members are very active on smart mobility but there is also a need for more engagement, in particular from governments and institutions.It’s essential to foster an open and competitive ecosystem to promote innovation: There are telcos but also new players in the IoT game. Interoperability and fair competition throughout the value chain is needed.
  • We need to create trust developing legal infrastructures that allow data to flow in a secure way. End-to-end solutions and a multi-stakeholder process are necessary to tackle security and privacy concerns.
  • The Digital Single Market is a key opportunity to promote a more inclusive and innovative society and make Europe a leader again through IoT: the EC launched a vision on IoT (April 2016) that aims at creating (i) a single market for IoT, (ii) open platforms and (iii) human-centered systems and solutions that empower citizens.

Internet of things panel

KEYNOTE SPEECH: Sébastien Soriano, Chairman, ARCEP and incoming BEREC Chair 2017

  • Open Internet Regulation: Net Neutrality now is a fundamental right that ensures that nobody controls the network and the internet.
  • Regulators are now watchdogs protecting the openness of the internet: BEREC and NRAs should remain independent both from governments and the EC.
  • Mobile connectivity is the main challenge of tomorrow: Mobile network coverage has become critical and operators, regulators and institutions need to work together towards this aim. BEREC will launch a common position to share best practices and enable a ‘regulating with data’ approach for NRAs.
  • Thanks to information and data we can help competition as the driver of innovation.
  • Regarding BEREC’s work on the telecom proposal, a first opinion will be launched before end-2016, focusing on access regulation, institutional set up and OTTs. Next year we will continue with spectrum, end-users and universal service.

Sebastien Soriano

SESSION 2 - Competition, regulation and investment

Chair: Francesco Liberatore, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs
Professor Tommaso Valletti, Chief Competition Economist, DG COMPETITION, European Commission
Andrew Entwistle, Founding Partner, New Street Research
Simon Söder, Partner, Antin Infrastructure Partners
Dalibor Vavruska, Managing Director, Global Head of Digital Connectivity Strategy and CEEMEA Telecom, Citi
Harald Gruber, Head of the Digital Economy Division, European Investment Bank (EIB)

  • There is no magic number of operators in a market: this depends on the national context.
  • The FMW provides for a balancing exercise when evaluating mergers: efficiency, quality and synergy claims that are made by parties need careful assessment.
  • The chain of causation on greater investment is not well established: it’s not because you have market power that you will be making investments.
  • Europe needs investments for the gigabit society to speed up R&D and infrastructure build-out but not everything can be done by the market. It is important to promote a utility approach and educate the financial sector to long-term perspective investment. Regulation can support this.
  • There is already significant private capital invested in NGA telecoms infrastructure and large telecoms companies do not seem to have a real problem accessing capital.
  • Focus of regulators on long-term objectives and consistency is needed. No one-size-fits-all approach: Access remains a local issue and regulators need the tools to promote healthy competition in the market.
  • Incumbents are concerned about promoting fibre but there are ways to help them to make the right choices, such as rewarding wholesale-only from a regulatory point of view. This can also promote a regulatory model that facilitates investment by infrastructure investors and pension funds.

Competition regulation investment panel

SESSION 3A: Co-investment models

Chair: Felipe Flórez Duncan, Partner, Oxera
Philippe Distler, Member of the Board, ARCEP
Vesa Terävä, Head of "Electronic Communications Policy" unit, DG CONNECT, European Commission
Vianney Hennes, Director of the Representation to the European institutions, Director European Public Affairs, Orange France Telecom Group
Ben Wreschner, Head of Network and Economic Regulation, Vodafone Group
Johannes Theiss, Head of Brussels Office, BREKO

  • Co-investment can be a solution to take investment and competition forward. However, it is not the silver bullet to achieving EC’s targets: It may work in some market conditions and not in others.
  • A fully effective regime for access to passive infrastructure should the remedy of first choice. EC wants to be sufficiently prescriptive about the conditions to have transparent and open co-investment.
  • Co-investment is more likely to work where altnets already have a reasonably strong position in the market, and are willing to take the risk to co-invest.
  • EC proposes a set of criteria under which the SMP operator would benefit from a lighter regulation and offer co-investment. It is always the NRA which will check whether the co-investment is pro-competitive enough.
  • For co-investment to be more successful, it is important to define precisely which assets are to be shared (terminating segment), to tackle non-discrimination and operational issues and to remind that passive access to the fibre terminating segment is essential.
  • Greater clarity is needed on what type of co-investment would attract deregulation. Risk that non-participating operators are left behind with bitstream at copper quality and risk of deregulation just with a co-investment offer.

co investment2

SESSION 3B - The role and influence of platforms in the Digital age

Chair: Ireneusz Piecuch, Partner, CMS
Peter Eberl, Deputy Head of Unit, Electronic Communications Policy. DG CONNECT, European Commission
Johan Keetelaar, Director, Telecommunications, Transport and Postal Services Department, ACM
Kevin Martin, Vice President for Global and Mobile Access Policy, Facebook
Carlos Rodriguez Cocina, Director European Affairs, Head of Brussels office, Telefónica
Dalibor Vavruska, Managing Director, Global Head of Digital Connectivity Strategy and CEEMEA Telecom, Citi

  • The traditional concept of telco operator is changing: opportunities for synergies and multiple relations between platforms and telco players are growing because of vertical integration, with data as the oil of the new economy.
  • The next big thing in the capitalist economy to come is related to Big Data and information, to have it you need competition.
  • We need to make sure that competition policy is broad enough to tackle potential issues.
  • A level playing field based on ‘same service/same rules’ principle should be considered. However, we should not be overregulating too soon, in order to keep flexibility and foster an innovation-friendly environment.
  • In Belgium and the Netherlands, access regulation is more difficult to apply since there are 2 fixed infrastructures: there should be more room for altnets to compete.
  • Important that customers understand what they give up: they could be willing to pay less in terms of data and more in terms of money.


SESSION 4A: Splitting the bill: mobile access and network sharing

Chair: Chris Watson, Partner, Telecoms & Technology, CMS
Marieke Scholz, Deputy Head of Unit, Antitrust Telecoms, DG COMPETITION, European Commission 
Ola Bergström, Director for International Affairs, Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS)
Lisa Di Feliciantonio, Head of Public Policy and EU Affairs, Fastweb SpA
Dr. Mohammad Shahbaz, Chief Network Officer, Huawei Technologies

  • Intensity of network sharing increased over time and moved from passive (sites and masts) to active sharing (base stations). The deepest form we observe currently is spectrum sharing. The scope was initially for a specific mobile technology generation, whereas now the agreements tend to cover all technologies.
  • With the transition to 5G, the boundaries between fixed and mobile will start fading even more and the interest in entering the mobile market will increase.
  • Network sharing is mainly justified by exigencies to splitting the bill and supporting roll-out speed, by putting efforts together. For instance, operators can share spectrum to achieve nation-wide coverage.
  • Network sharing agreements can generate efficiencies (costs; roll-out; serving rural areas). There are also potential concerns about how the agreement is set up and, more importantly, about the market constellation (number of operators, effect on competition).
  • NRAs and the EC should look at that from the point of view of competition and market analysis: Network sharing agreements that involve spectrum could have implications on the ability to innovate, since a single network that several operators can use could reduce incentives to compete on quality and differentiation. Access to networks by MVNOs is also something to take into consideration.
  • When network sharing changes the market structure, sharing cases should be looked at in the same context as merger cases.

mobile network sharing panel

SESSION 4B - Understanding Net Neutrality

Chairman: Jon Fell, Partner, Osborne Clarke
Frode Sørensen, Senior Adviser, Norwegian Communications Authority
Joe McNamee, Executive Director, EDRi (European Digital Rights)
László Tóth, Head of Public Policy, Europe, GSM Association
Guillermo Beltrà, Head of Legal and Economic Department, BEUC (The European Consumer Organisation)
Yannick Leboyer, Head of EMEA Strategy, Level 3 Communications

  • Regulation is compatible with technological evolution and innovation.
  • Trust in digital services, investment in Very High Capacity networks (VHC) and the development of innovative services that respond to citizens’ needs are all key pillars towards the gigabit society.
  • The implementation of EU open internet rules should ensure standardisation and legal certainty.
  • Zero rating and commercial practices normally benefit consumers and satisfy their needs but some offers could also hamper competition. It is important to be loyal with EU legislators and keep a strictly ex-post approach on those practices.
  • Transparency and rules allowing consumers to compare information are essential.
  • Commercial practices would need assessment on many complex criteria.

net neutrality panel
KEYNOTE SPEECH: Adina Ioana Vălean MEP, Vice President of the European Parliament and member of the EPP Group

  • It’s good that the EC discussed thoroughly the text of the FMW proposal with all stakeholders.
  • 5G and fibre are the future. We cannot use the infrastructure and spectrum of yesterday to deliver the future, hence we need to give predictability and support to these developments.
  • Market differences should not be ignored but end-users will pay more attention on connectivity and speed rather than on the type of network: What is of utmost importance is to prepare for the needs of the future, for our industry, our people, and the economy as a whole.
  • For this new package to function and deliver, we need the entire industry, incumbents and altnets, on board, to achieve the necessary investment.
  • We need a debate on new solutions for an evolving market. Focus on co-investment is interesting and welcome but all investments, including individual, are important and to be safeguarded: incentives for all types of investors should be maintained.

Networking during the conference


KEYNOTE SPEECH with Q&A: Andrus Ansip, Vice President for the Digital Single Market, European Commission

Full speech can be found here

  • Operators are investing. Telco package can help, even if no single regulation can make investment happen at no price. We want to create an environment where all players can invest in new networks on an equal base.
  • The Code will stimulate competition. Competition, for both providing services and investing in infrastructures, is the best way to stimulate innovation and attract investment in VHC.
  • Dominant operators will still have to give access to their networks, especially where it is necessary for the retail market.
  • Our aim is to deregulate where we can, but regulate where we must. Our rules will make investments more predictable and incentivise first mover, especially in challenge areas.
  • Both fixed and mobile broadband is needed to ensure connectivity everywhere. Efficient and coordinated spectrum has an essential role to promote connectivity and 5G.
  • The code encourages predictability through rules on spectrum assignment and sufficiently long licenses.
  • Gigabit connectivity in urban areas, by 2025, is a must. For this to happen, it is important not to delay too much the switch of the 700 MHz band.
  • All our activities, including on roaming, aim at attracting private investments and promoting competition and affordable prices
  • Europe needs a vibrant competitive telecom market to make the DSM a reality.

andrus ansip

SESSION 1 - Delivering future-proof connectivity for Europe

Chair: Ann LaFrance, Coordinating Partner, Communications Law & Regulation, EMEA;  Global Co-Chair, Data Privacy & Cybersecurity, Squire Patton Boggs
Professor Fátima Barros, President of the Board of ANACOM and BEREC Chair 2015
Kamila Kloc, Deputy Head of Cabinet, Vice-President Ansip, European Commission 
Erzsébet Fitori, Director General, FTTH Council Europe
Lise Fuhr, Director General, ETNO
Ilse van der Haar, Group Director of Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Responsibility, Tele2 AB

 Group President & CEO, Tele2 Group

  • Challengers need to be able to continue serving European customers.
  • There are serious doubts that relaxation of access regulation will drive investment: Competition is the best way to achieve availability and take-up of VHC.
  • VHC needs to be very clearly defined, to understand what will be regulated or deregulated and prevent incumbents from using the definition to increase the scope of the deregulation.
  • Technology neutrality remains an important principle, but we should not be blind to the nature and capacity of different technologies as well as their effect on market aspect, end-user experience and prices.
  • With 5G and IoT, there will be important societal and economic developments, with impacts on an ecosystem broader than telecoms.
  • The connectivity goals can be reached through different technologies, even if for gigabit speed, fibre will be more important than others.
  • The main challenge will be to invest in VHC in challenge areas with higher cost of deployment.
  • Access regulation is still the key for infrastructure competition. The EC gives additional powers and tools to NRAs for addressing issues in challenge areas.
  • For regulators, connectivity is key, but at the same level with competition and user protection.

future proof connectivity
SESSION 2A - Getting fixed wholesale access right

Chair: Luc Hindryckx, Executive Director, ECTA
Anthony Whelan, Director Electronic Communications Networks and Services, DG CONNECT, European Commission 
Maxime Lombardini, CEO, Iliad
Meinrad Spenger, CEO, MÁSMÓVIL 
Steve Unger, Board Member and Group Director, Ofcom

  • The starting point for the EC’s work is that there is a growing need for connectivity, and that the 15+years of pro-competitive regulation show that regulation, where needed, enables competition and investment.
  • The question for the EC is how to take account of very diverse market situations, and to try to lay down a bedrock of stability and predictability for operators and investors
  • Today there is no silver bullet common remedy since market conditions vary in Member States.
  • For the EC, the access to civil infrastructures, where feasible, should be the starting point of focusing on moving all players up the ladder of investment.
  • The best way to push the incumbent to invest is competition, in France, more than 50% of capex is made by alternative operators.
  • We need NRAs to be able to push for ex-ante regulated NGA networks. It is too late to regulate only if commercial agreements have failed, since then it would be extremely difficult to get customers to churn.
  • Passive access is critical for altnets to be able to differentiate and innovate.
  • Co-investment has to be promoted in a way which preserves competition, for fixed and mobile.
  • On spectrum, we need a specific regime to ensure that the incumbents do not seize it all: this is key to keep competition on mobile markets.

getting fixed wholesale access panel
SESSION 2B - Spectrum harmonisation: the key to 5G?

Chair: J.Scott Marcus, Senior Fellow, Bruegel
Gunnar Hökmark MEP, European People’s Party, European Parliament
Carlota Reyners Fontana, Deputy Head of the Radio Spectrum Policy unit, DG CONNECT, European Commission
Philip Marnick, Group Director, Spectrum, Ofcom and Chairperson, Radio Spectrum Policy Group
Jacek Niewglowski, Chief Strategy Officer, PLAY
Antonios Drossos, Managing Partner, Rewheel

  • Thanks to 5G and network slicing the communication networks will become platforms for innovation.
  • Europe needs to be in the lead in these developments. Thus, it will be important to use all the possible spectrum frequencies: Benefits increase more rapidly the more widespread use and coverage are.
  • Regulators should ensure that harmonisation can happen and that the necessary technical work to switch spectrum bands is done.
  • The EC’s 5G Action plain focuses on: (i) aligning of 5G objectives across the EU, (ii) identifying bands and methods for authorisation for spectrum, (iii) coordinating fibre investments to support dense cells and facilitate small cell deployment and (iv) making core standards ready by 2019.
  • Longer Spectrum licenses can offer predictability, but efficiency needs to be taken into consideration: obligations to deploy spectrum do not ensure that spectrum will be put into efficient use. Policy makers should then ensure that the resource will be used efficiently.
  • High Gigabit prices suppress demand.
  • NRAs should facilitate network competition by setting aside spectrum for new entrants and challenger MNOs.

spectrum harmonisation panel
KEYNOTE INTERVIEW: Roberto Viola, Director General, DG CONNECT, European Commission

  • The digital revolution will bring opportunities and benefits for all. The precondition is that people need to be connected.
  • All incumbents and altnets have to contribute to the Gigabit society.
  • Great investment is needed: we must convince investors that we are credible and offer stability, to provide them with the confidence that they will make a return on investment.
  • If NRAs and EU institutions take decisions in a coherent and consistent way over time, we can implement a regulatory FMW that balances competition with the need to promote returns on investment.
  • Spectrum plays a key role in the Code: we need more harmonisation, with independent regulators as the guardians of the economic utilisation of the frequencies.

roberto viola interview

SESSION 3 - The institutional setup - who will be the ‘Guardians of the Digital Galaxy’?

Chair: Bernard Amory, Partner, Jones Day
Philip Marnick, Group Director, Spectrum, Ofcom and Chairperson, Radio Spectrum Policy Group
Professor Fátima Barros, President of the Board of ANACOM and BEREC Chair 2015
Markus Schulte, PhD, Member of the Cabinet of EU Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger, European Commission

  • The quality of our telecoms sector is decisive for the performance for our economy and for society at large. Telecoms must be fit to deliver our vision of the gigabit society.
  • Competition which is the driver of investment should remain one of the main objectives in the Code.
  • Co-investment is a good element but SMP should remain the basis for regulation.
  • A degree of flexibility to use the regulatory tools according to different market situations is welcome. On remedies: the double lock system and the Commission veto should not reduce such flexibility and shift power from NRAs to the EC. A reduction of the independence of BEREC and NRAs without bringing real added value is not suitable.
  • On the contrary, the proposed changes can be considered as an incremental evolution to enhance BEREC’s role: BEREC would have a revamped EU agency with increased competencies which would bolster coherence in the institutional set up and promote the internal market.

institutional setup panel
SESSION 4 - What media framework for the 21st century?

Chair: Olivier Cousi, Partner, Gide Loyrette Nouel
Anna Herold, Member of Günther Oettinger Cabinet, European Commission
David Wheeldon, Group Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Sky
Tobias McKenney, Senior European IP Policy Manager, Google
Agustín Reyna, Digital Team Leader, BEUC (The European Consumer Organisation)
Innocenzo Genna, Council Officer and Chair of the Innovation and Growth Committee, Euroispa

  • Media and audio-visual issues are becoming increasingly convergent and transversal.
  • The EC’s action in these sectors aims at creating a single market, while protecting public policy goals.
  • The ratio is to evolve towards more principle-base regulation and harmonisation.
  • A common theme among copyright and audiovisual rules is the recognition of the role of online platforms, being the gateways through which people access content.
  • In the AVMSD the EC introduced specific obligations regarding harmful content and principles on rights for publishers.
  • Content distributors that build their business models on re-using professionally made copyrighted content should better distribute the value created with right holders.
  • On cross-border access, the Commission put on the table a regulation that would help clearing the rights by broadcasters online.
  • The way of discovering and use audiovisual content is rapidly changing. The industry fears that the additional regulations proposed go too far and are likely to hamper customer-focused innovation. New competitive dynamics with platforms emerge and self-regulation is more effective and less burdensome to serve customers.
  • Quotas or levies could end up degrading content quality and quantity for consumers.
  • More transparency on data can help the content industry develop and value chain benefit.
  • More courage is needed on addressing geoblocking: the more content is restricted, the more people try to get it in an unlawful way. From this perspective, the proposal on content portability will be welcome.
  • Filtering obligations could represent an issue for small and growing providers.

what media framework panel

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