European Competitive Telecommunications Association

ECTA CEOs meet Vice President Neelie Kroes
Building the telecoms Single Market on the EU‘s pro-competitive framework is key to unlocking innovation and investments in next generation access networks  

 

Brussels, 23 July 2013: CEOs from key member companies of the European Competitive Telecoms Association (ECTA) last week met with the European Commission’s Vice-President Neelie Kroes to discuss the upcoming Commission initiative on the Single Market. The take-away was reassuring: the EU competition model constitutes a cornerstone of the telecoms framework and it is this model that the Commission intends to continue building on. 


 
CEOs from Bouygues Telecom, QSC and Voxbone called on VP Kroes to consider the key role that challenger telecoms operators have been playing in driving innovation and choice for consumers and businesses in the voice and broadband markets. In the transition to a next generation access network environment (NGA), alternative operators should continue driving innovation and growth by competing on the basis of their investments, network sharing and access to dominant telcos’ networks on fair terms. There is no evidence that departing from today’s competition model, which delivered high broadband take-up and drove significant growth and jobs in the sector, would be beneficial for the European economy or end-users.

Tom Ruhan, Chairman of ECTA said: "Challenger telecoms operators have not only been the leading product innovators but also made broadband affordable for consumers, which in turn has led to accelerated investments and take-up in broadband. The central role of unbundling based competition in boosting broadband take-up is undeniable: 40% of fixed broadband customers have signed up to the innovative and competitive offers of unbundlers. The lack of effective physical access to NGA networks results in very low - only 2% - take-up of superfast broadband. If we want to meet the Digital Agenda’s take-up target, innovation and investments by alternative operators in NGA unbundling and sub-loop unbundling should be promoted as a matter of priority.”
 
Erzsebet Fitori, Director of ECTA said "We welcome a Single Market initiative focused on addressing the true barriers, i.e. the obstacles to providing and receiving cross-border communications services. Measures aimed at reducing these obstacles, such as a single authorisation regime, standardised wholesale inputs to fixed networks and spectrum assignment harmonization, are very good news for ECTA members. Granting European businesses access to more competitive and innovative communications services could have the EU reaping benefits of almost 800 billion euros over a 15 year period. But these measures can be successful in creating growth and jobs only if our pro-competitive telecoms regulatory framework remains at the heart of the Single Market initiative.”

The ECTA CEOs welcomed the single market aims and reassured Vice-President Neelie Kroes that they are genuinely committed to continue investing, innovating and competing in an NGA setting, as long as the "rules of the game” remain fair and are not changed overnight to favour dominant operators. For example cost-orientation is key – by imposing cost-oriented wholesale access charges, national regulatory authorities not only ensure certainty and predictability for both alternative operators and incumbent investors and a fair return on investment but also prevent excessive and anti-competitive pricing by dominant players. Effective enforcement of non-discrimination – the so called Equivalence of Inputs regime –and the prevention of margin squeeze are also powerful tools to ensure a level playing field.

 

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Background
In an effort to restore smart growth and job creation in the EU, the European Commission is currently working on a draft Regulation proposal which aims at completing the existing EU regulatory framework and thus establishing a true single market for electronic communications. Key proposals being developed by the Commission include an EU passport designed for operators to provide cross-border services, enhanced consumer protection rules, harmonization of spectrum assignment procedures, new provisions on roaming and standardisation of wholesale products.    
 
Follow us on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/twECTA
 
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: Inês Nolasco, Regulatory Affairs Manager (+32 2 290.01.03 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

 

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