European Competitive Telecommunications Association

UPDATE 2-No need for special mobile access rules-EU
Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:48 PM BST
(Releads with new entrants' reaction)
By Ingrid Melander

16 October 2007, Brussels (Reuters) - New telecoms operators in the EU on Tuesday denounced plans to ease regulations which guarantee them fair access to existing mobile providers' networks.

"We are absolutely opposed (to the move)," said Ilsa Godlovitch of the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA). Her group represents new operators such as Neuf Cegetel (NEUF.PA: Quote,Profile, Research) of France and Virgin Media (VEMD.O: Quote,Profile, Research), which compete with former monopolies.

"New operators' ability to enter into the competition will be removed," Godlovitch told Reuters. She said companies such as broadband operators that wanted to enter the mobile market needed the pressure of close scrutiny by regulators to get access to the main operators' networks.

In order to boost competition in former monopoly markets, EU telecoms law has divided telecoms markets into 18 sectors such as retail and wholesale, broadband, mobile and fixed line that are under close watch by national regulators.

EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding wants to take some sectors out of this specific framework, saying competition has flourished enough for them to be subject to general antitrust rules only.

Reding's original plan was to leave access to mobile phone networks under specific telecoms rules, but she said on Tuesday that EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes had convinced her to change her mind.

Reding also said talks on how to treat mobile termination rates -- charged by operators for calls made to their network from other networks -- in a consistent way across the EU were under way among national telecoms regulators and that she wanted a common approach to be agreed in the first half of 2008.

"In the first half of 2008, finding a common approach on mobile termination rates will be a priority for me," she said in a statement. 

Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved. 

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