Single European telecoms market is years off

13 Jul 2007

Despite significant progress through new European Telecoms Rules, European national telecom regulators face difficult challenges which are not being helped by the fact that methods employed by regulators to boost competition vary country by country.

EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding said that the European Commission’s review mechanism of national regulatory decisions has led to more coherent market analyses, greater transparency and has ensured that regulation only exists in markets which need to be competitive.

However, different approaches to resolving market problems could lead to the risk of fragmentation of the internal telecoms market to the detriment of consumers and operators with pan-European activities.

“Close Cooperation between the European Commission and national regulators is crucial for building a truly dynamic and fully functioning single telecoms market,” said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding.

“By overseeing the day-to-day implementation of the EU Telecom Rules, the Commission has been able to create more legal certainty for companies wishing to invest EU-wide.

“Although this has improved competition throughout the EU and benefited consumers by lower prices and more choice, we must now remove the remaining inconsistencies to level the playing field in Europe and to promote the development of pan-European operators and services,” Reding said.

The Commission said it intends to make use of the forthcoming reform of the EU Telecom Rules – scheduled for October – to minimise the administrative burden for market players and regulators and to take measures to complete the internal telecoms market.

“The current EU Telecom Rules are based on competition law principles and regulatory obligations can only be imposed by the national regulators following a market analysis on undertakings with significant market power.

“This approach has opened up telecoms markets to competition, lead to more choice for consumers and allowed them to benefit from decreasing prices in many areas,” added Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

By John Kennedy