Search terms: Telecommunications
The Albanian Authority for Electronic and Postal Communications recently awarded a second third-generation (3G) licence, to Albanian Mobile Communications. Although the tender process means that two of the four mobile communications operators in Albania now hold 3G licences, critics have claimed that rather than furthering the liberalisation of the market, the second licence has created an oligopoly.
Discussions on introducing third-generation (3G) mobile technology in Albania started in 2009. After it was announced that only one 3G licence would be issued, the four mobile networks jointly called for the government to review its plans to give all the networks the chance to embrace the new technology. However, the government rejected these proposals and has now awarded the licence to Vodafone Albania for €31.4 million.
The Authority of Electronic and Postal Communications recently issued new regulations on number portability, which allows a subscriber to keep his or her telephone number when moving to another provider of publicly available telephone services. It is hoped that the implementation of number portability will promote competition and efficiency in the telecommunications sector.
The Law on Electronic Communications aims to promote competition and provide efficient infrastructure and adequate services by upholding the principle of technological neutrality in electronic communications. Several bodies administer the issuance of the authorizations to provide such services.
Decree 3/2004 has approved new price regulations for public telecommunications services. The decree sets out a pricing policy to be adopted by public sector operators for the provision of telecommunications services, and the prices to be charged between public operators for the interconnection of public telecommunications networks.
Approval of the 2004 acquisition of Movicom Bellsouth by Telefónica Móviles SA was conditional upon the return of 35 megahertz (MHz) of the spectrum to the government. In December 2005 a resolution was passed setting out a timetable for the return of the 35MHz on a progressive basis by geographical area.
New regulations on the interception of communications, dubbed the 'spy law', have attracted widespread criticism. The most controversial duty imposed on providers is to register all 'telecommunications' traffic as defined by a new decree, which broadens the term to include data transfer and value added services involving the Internet and emails.
A new decree envisages that every telecommunications service provider should have the necessary resources to capture and transfer the communications it transmits so that the judiciary or Ministry of Justice may use them to combat crime, and should also systematize its subscriber information.
Recent changes include the introduction of a code that provides standards for suppliers to meet when performing bill functions and the news that Telstra has been selected as the preferred tenderer for the provision of untimed local calls and upgraded services.
A new joint venture between Australia's Telstra and Hong Kong-based Pacific Century Cyberworks brings together the technical expertise and business experience of two of the market leaders in the Asia Pacific region. This update traces the background of the new project and its hopes for the future.
The Besley Inquiry was set up to independently assess telecommunications services in metropolitan, rural and remote Australia. The federal government reacted to this report by announcing a funding package to further improve aspects of the telecommunications industry, including mobile phone coverage and internet speed, throughout the country.
The Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act will come into force by the end of 2001 and will amend the Privacy Act so provisions related to personal information will now apply to the private sector. This update examines the ways in which this previously unregulated sector is likely to be affected.
The recent auction of 3G (third generation) licences raised $1.168 billion. The licences commence in October 2002, ushering in technology with significant implications for the way Australians work and communicate.
Channel Nine sought an interim injunction restraining the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) from broadcasting aspects of the New Year's Eve fireworks display on Sydney Harbour. Channel Nine claimed copyright vested in four elements of the display.
Following the nationalisation of government-owned Belize Telemedia Limited in August 2009, Telemedia engaged in behaviour towards its competitor Speednet Communications Limited which Speednet alleged was intended to jeopardise its ability to provide mobile telecommunications services to the Belizean public. However, the Supreme Court ruled that Telemedia was not dominant in the mobile market and refused the declaration sought.
Frustrated consumers often blame service providers for their inability to offer bundled telephone, cable television and internet services, but it is actually the legislative framework that keeps the services separate. The minister has stated that imminent reform will benefit consumers by providing them with more service options, competitive pricing and licensees offering the latest telecommunications technology available.
Brazil's telecommunications regulator (ANATEL) recently approved the bid notice for the 2.5 gigahertz radio frequency band, to be used for the provision of 4G technology, and the 450 megahertz radio frequency band, designed to improve coverage in Brazil's rural areas. The requirements to use national technology set out in the initial draft bid notice have been maintained.
The Ministry of Communications recently published Call for Proposals 001/2012-MC, relating to the Digital City Project. The project is designed to achieve greater efficiency in the management of cities through the deployment of network connection infrastructure between municipal authorities and local public equipment, thereby improving community access to government services.
Brazil's telecommunications regulator (ANATEL) recently submitted for public consultation its proposed Regulation of the Fixed Switched Telephone Service Universalisation Obligations. The proposed regulation will govern the General Universalisation Goals Plan, which establishes the universal access and service goals for fixed switched telephone service incumbents for the period 2011 to 2015.
Brazil's telecommunications regulator, ANATEL, recently published a statement in the Official Gazette stating that an additional digit will be implemented in the numbering of personal mobile services. The current numbering system has eight digits. The ninth digit will initially be added only to mobile phones from Area 11, which corresponds to the City of Sao Paulo and 63 other municipalities of the metropolitan region.
Brazil's telecommunications regulator (ANATEL) recently submitted to public consultation the draft bid notice for the 450 megahertz (MHz) and 2.5 gigahertz (GHz) radio frequency bands. The 450 MHz band auction aims to provide the lowest price to end users and the 2.5 GHz band bidding process aims to promote access to high-speed mobile broadband, using fourth-generation mobile technology.
ANATEL, the Brazilian telecommunications regulator, recently submitted to public consultation an application it had received for the annulment of several provisions of the service quality management regulations for multimedia communication and personal mobiles. The provisions affected by the application relate to the indicators used to evaluate the quality of fixed and mobile broadband and the quality perceived by the user.
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission announced the rules for its national do-not-call registry. However, the date on which the registry will come into force remains uncertain, as its operation is dependent on the appointment of a do-not-call list operator.
Two parliamentary committees separately reviewing the status of foreign investment rules governing the communications sector in Canada have generated directly conflicting recommendations. At the heart of the debate are Canada's decade-old telecommunications ownership and control laws.
Canada's House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology has concluded a review of the foreign ownership and control restrictions imposed on telecommunications common carriers operating in Canada. Its proposals include the removal of legislative provisions that limit foreign ownership and control of telecommunications common carriers and broadcasting distribution undertakings.
Many companies assume that if they are exempt from the requirement to hold a spectrum licence under the Radiocommunication Act, this entitles them to exemption from federal radiocommunication and telecommunications law. However, this is not the case.
Over the next few months, federal lawmakers will attempt to make sense of the complex foreign investment laws governing ownership and control of Canada's telecommunications, cable television and broadcasting sectors. Parallel sets of parliamentary committee hearings are now underway, launched by political rivals within the Chretien cabinet.
In a landmark telecommunications ruling that signals a major shift in the course of Canadian pricing regulation, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has issued its Regulatory Framework for Second Price Cap Period (Decision 2002-34 issued on May 30 2002), which effectively outlines a new scheme for Canadian telecommunications pricing and regulation.
This update discusses the main features of the recent public bidding for frequencies of the local wireless telephone service. Amendments were made to certain conditions of the bidding process that were unfair to new entrants. The National Telecommunications Agency has appealed against the changes and is awaiting the Supreme Court's judgment.
Development has reached the stage where the telecommunications market is ready for broad band services, particularly broad band access to the Internet. The telecommunications regulator (SUBTEL) has enacted Resolution 1,498, which sets forth technical regulations applicable to the wireless local loop.
As backers of rival third-generation (3G) mobile telephony standards compete for a share of China's rapidly expanding telecommunications market, China Telecom's announcement that it will be able to offer 3G services within seven or eight months of receiving official approval makes the government's forthcoming decision on licensing even more crucial.
The National Council of Economic and Social Policy has issued Document 3,145, which sets out guidelines for the future policies and activities of the National Telecommunications Company (Telecom), taking into account its current financial and economic situation.
With the issuance of Decree 575 the government has entered the final stage of establishing a Personal Communication Services network. The process will be completed with the issuance of rules for participating in the concession bidding process.
Two important changes have occurred in the telecommunications industry this year. First, the Personal Communications System Law was enacted. Second, BellSouth announced its acquisition of 50.35% capital in Celumovil, one of Colombia's largest cellular telephone companies.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications may now issue secondary regulations by virtue of the new Telecommunications Act. The ministry has been quick to issue regulations concerning types of public network interfaces.
On May 16 2000 the Parliament of the Czech Republic adopted a new Telecommunications Act, which brings Czech telecommunications regulation into line with prevailing regulatory practices in the European Union. However, the act postpones the final liberalization of the industry.
The concept of a dominant telecommunications operator is relatively new in Ecuador. Operators which the telecommunications regulatory authority declares to be dominant are required to give undertakings with regard to price, equal treatment, efficient connection and access to information. However, no operator has yet been identified as dominant.
Telecsa SA recently became Ecuador’s third mobile telephony operator. It is owned by state telecoms company Andinatel SA. Instead of opening up the telecommunications market, the move is expected to strengthen the state’s monopoly and is unlikely to reduce prices for consumers.
The Constitutional Court has issued an important decision with respect to the equal treatment applicable by regulators to the bidding processes of the telecommunications market. The court upheld a claim of the incumbent mobile telephony operators, Porta and Bellsouth, that they should benefit from the right to equal treatment.
The new Cable Distribution Act creates opportunities for healthy competition in the cable distribution market. It lays down detailed requirements for the provision of services and for customer agreements, providing better protection for customers and ensuring the quality of services.
At the end of 2010 the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation published the new standard for the common mobile charger, which it developed following a request from the commission. The European Commission has now published a question-and-answer document to explain the issues surrounding the common mobile phone charger.
Following its consultation on an EU regulation to reduce international mobile roaming charges, the European Commission proposed a regulation based on the 'home pricing' principle, which relates roaming charges back to domestic tariffs. After vehement objections from the industry, the commission has issued a revised proposal involving an average European wholesale price and a linked retail price cap.
The European Commission has closed the final phase of its consultation on an EU regulation to reduce international mobile roaming charges. The proposal is for a regulation which would introduce the principle of 'home pricing' for the use of mobile phones abroad.
The European Commission has stressed that a key principle underlying the new telecommunications regulatory framework is "the importance of full, effective and timely implementation". It has underlined this by commencing proceedings against those member states which have not yet transposed the package into national law.
The European Commission has published a recommendation aiming to harmonize member state regulation of the provision of public Radio Local Area Network (R-LAN) services. The recommendation is welcome, as R-LAN services are now at a critical point in their development. Service providers are deploying networks in 'hotspot' locations and are building a base of active customers.
On January 23 2003 the European Regulators Group for Electronic Communications Networks and Services agreed its work programme for 2003. The programme sets the priorities for action by national regulatory authorities to ensure a consistent implementation of the new regulatory framework by July 2003, in conformity with the tasks granted to the European Regulators Group.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications recently threatened to intervene in the pricing of mobile phone calls which originate and terminate within a single network. The ministry claims that the low prices charged for these calls distort competition in the market. It hopes that operators will change their pricing policies voluntarily so that legislative amendments are not required.
Finland's newly enacted Radio Act came into force on January 1 2002. Pursuant to the new act Finland's Council of State confirmed the spectrum plan for licensed telecommunications activities, such as the provision of public mobile network infrastructure.
Parliament is considering a bill that, if accepted, will impose national roaming obligations on certain Global System for Mobile Communications network operators, as well as lease and co-location obligations on fixed-network operators.
The Competition Authority has found that Elisa Corporation's discounted tariff for local internet calls was an abuse of a dominant position, even though its competitors improved their position in the market. The reasoning: they were not given enough notice of the price change.
The French Telecoms Regulatory Authority has extended the commercial launch and population coverage deadlines for universal mobile telecommunications system services, after operators failed to meet previous targets. In addition, global system for mobile communications operators have agreed licence renewal terms with the government.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has adopted certain guidelines that will apply to electronic communications networks and services until legislation is passed to implement the EU telecommunications directives. The guidelines have established a system of declaration rather than authorization, and have simplified the procedure for making preliminary declarations.
Operators recently began marketing mobile number portability services. Meanwhile, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has announced that its calculation of universal service overpayments made by operators totals approximately €2 billion. It has also settled a dispute between France Télécom and new entrants over the fixing of call termination charges.
The Telecommunications Ministry has approved the liberalization of wireless networks which use the 2.4 gigahertz radio frequency band, following demand for the launch of wireless fidelity services. Licensed operators and service providers will now be able to install wireless access points without prior approval from the French Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
Following a proposal to assist the development of broadband internet access in economically weak regions, the government will allow local authorities to roll out telecommunications networks and function as telecommunications operators. Legislation must be drafted to amend existing prohibitions against public bodies acting as telecommunications operators.
On October 24 2002 the French Telecommunications Authority approved the new call termination charges applicable to SFR’s and Orange's mobile networks (the two French mobile operators deemed to have significant market power) for 2003. The new tariffs are expected to lower the call termination charges on these networks by 15%.
Although many businesses which offer internet access to their customers through wireless local area network devices may not have considered whether they are obliged to register this service with an official regulatory authority, recent practice in Germany suggests that a more thorough approach in this regard is required, given that ignorance of the associated legal requirements can result in fines.
The application proceeding for what is considered to be the largest frequency auction in Germany recently closed. A total of 360 megahertz (MHz) in four different frequency bands (800 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2 gigahertz (GHz) and 2.6 GHz) are to be auctioned. However, according to a press release issued by the Federal Network Agency, only six companies applied to take part in the auction.
The Federal Administrative Court recently issued a landmark decision with respect to fundamental spectrum management issues. The decision favoured companies seeking legal protection from two Federal Network Agency decisions regarding frequency award proceedings.
Following the postponement of the adoption of the Frequency Allocation Ordinance, it seems clear that the further procedure and timeframe for the award of the frequencies in the 790 megahertz (MHz) to 862 MHz band will not only depend on the adoption of the Frequency Allocation Ordinance by the Federal Council, but will also require solutions to be found to a series of pending technical and legal questions.
The Federal Network Agency has published its guidelines for the allocation of the 790 to 860 megahertz band. The government's controversial adoption of an amendment to the Frequency Allocation Ordinance 2006 enabled the band - previously reserved for broadcasting services - to be allocated to mobile network services. Fears remain that such usage will cause harmful interference.
The Federal Administrative Court has decided Deutsche Telekom's appeal against a Federal Network Agency order that Deutsche Telekom grant competitors internet protocol bitstream access upon request. The order will enable competitors to offer their own broadband internet access products to consumers instead of merely reselling Deutsche Telekom's digital subscriber line products.
The Athens Administrative Court of Appeals has confirmed that Greek incumbent OTE SA's failure to provide in a timely manner information requested by the National Telecommunications and Post Commission may have a negative effect on the proper operation of the telecommunications market and the enhancement of competition. However, the court reduced the fine imposed on OTE to €1 million.
In response to an annulment action brought by Greek incumbent OTE SA, the Administrative Court of Appeals of Athens has upheld a National Telecommunications and Post Commission decision fining OTE €1 million for infringement of the electronic communications legislation and €8 million for abuse of its dominant position. However, based on the principle of proportionality, the court reduced the fines to €5.7 million.
The National Telecommunications and Post Commission has opened a series of public consultations on issues including the methodology and analysis model used to examine single or bundled offers of electronic communications products and services by operators with significant market power, and the amendment of the Code of Ethics for the Provision of Premium Rate Services.
The National Telecommunications and Post Commission has announced that the Greek incumbent's new retail offer for asymmetric digital subscriber line services, which is based on upgraded new connection speeds, was made available to the public without the prior approval of the regulatory authority, and as such is in breach of the applicable legislation.
According to press reports, the Athens Administrative Court of Appeals has confirmed the National Telecommunications and Post Commission's decision that the incumbent telecommunications operator, OTE SA, was guilty of abuse of dominance for squeezing prices and margins in the wholesale broadband market.
The National Telecommunications and Post Commission is carrying out a public consultation on a proposal by OTE SA on the provisions, terms and conditions included in the reference offer for full and shared access to local loop, sub-loop and related facilities.
Telecommunications and broadcasting stakeholders have submitted their final contributions to the government's three-month consultation on the establishment of a unified regulator for the electronic communications sector. The Communications Authority, to be composed of seven members, will replace the Telecommunications Authority and the Broadcasting Authority.
In April 2005 the Telecommunications Authority released a consultation paper on interconnection with in-building wiring systems, or 'blockwiring'. The paper proposes guidelines which identify when the operators of in-building telecommunications systems should make blockwiring available. This pro-competitive move should ultimately give consumers a greater choice of services.
The Hong Kong government has announced the withdrawal of its Type II interconnection policy. Its decision appears to have been influenced by what it describes as the high proportion of households connected to two customer access networks; it believes that withdrawal of the Type II interconnection policy will encourage even greater investment in self-built networks.
Hong Kong’s telecommunications authority recently published a report on its investigation into anti-competitive conduct among mobile operators. With limited powers, the authority showed skill in its analysis and quick reaction in tackling the problem.
Less than a year after the new Communications Act took effect, industry players have begun complaining that there are problems with the new regulatory scheme and institutions, and that competition has been slow to develop. Calls are thus being made for the act's revision.
A recent decree obliges telephone service providers to share internet access revenues with internet service providers (ISPs). However, disputes arose when the former state monopoly telephone service provider required the ISPs to collect the percentage of internet access fees allocated to them by the decree.
Telephone service providers with significant market power are now required to grant access to their local loops to other service providers upon request. They are also required to submit a reference interconnection offer to the Communications Arbitration Committee for approval once their exclusive rights to provide telephone services expire.
The new Communications Act will take effect on December 23 2001. Its aim is to open up the telecommunications market by the end of this year. The act, in accordance with current EU directives and regulations, provides the framework for the liberalized telecommunications market in Hungary for the next decade.
Under a new decree any equipment that complies with the relevant harmonized and/or localized harmonized standards will be deemed to be in conformity with its basic requirements, and may thus be imported into, distributed and used in Hungary.
A new ministerial decree regulates the conditions for use of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) frequency band. The status of the band has been changed in the National Frequency Allocation Table to reflect that it is now free for designation for the purposes of public telecommunications services.
Iceland's Parliament has passed new telecommunications legislation to promote competition in the sector. Licensed operators will be given direct access to subscribers, will have shared access to telephone networks and tariffs are set to be harmonized.
The Department of Telecommunications recently took steps for environmental protection by issuing guidelines on green technology standards. Among other things, the guidelines impose obligations on service providers for the increased utilisation of renewable energy technologies and 'green passport'-certified equipment in the telecommunications network.
The Department of Telecommunications issues a variety of licences for different types of telecommunications service. Recent discussions have focused on a possible reduction of the multiplicity of licences offered. Revised recommendations issued by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority suggest that the various licences be recategorised as unified licences, class licences and licensing through authorisation.
The Department of Telecommunications recently issued the 2012 National Telecommunications Policy. Although the policy does not change the existing law, it sets out the objectives and strategies that the government intends to adopt when introducing changes in the sector. Furthermore, it sets out the overall direction that the government is expected to take in regulating the sector.
The Department of Telecommunications has recently issued a draft of the National Telecommunications Policy 2011. As well as continuing the provision of affordable and effective access to telecommunications for all, the draft policy introduces strategies for streamlining licensing and permitting spectrum pooling, sharing and trading, looking to raise the standards of telecommunications services to a higher level.
The availability of bandwidth is vital for the operation of telecommunications services, but it is a scarce resource. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India has therefore proposed guidelines for the adoption of spectrum sharing. It is hoped that this will lead to optimum utilisation of this resource and enable licensed telecommunications operators to expand their services in the country.
The Department of Telecommunications recently issued a notification amending the licence for security-related concerns for the expansion of telecommunications services in India. The notification supersedes all previous amendments issued by the department in respect of security clearance and makes a telecommunications licensee company completely responsible for the security of its network.
Parliament is set to consider three new laws that will affect the telecommunications sector. The introduction of the new laws is eagerly awaited by market participants and foreign investors in the sector. It is hoped that they will bring clearer regulation that more closely resembles best international practices.
On July 25 2003 the legal basis for provision of electronic communications networks and services will change, and licences to provide relevant networks and services will be replaced by an authorization regime. Anyone will be able to avail of a 'general authorization' provided they conform to certain general conditions to be set by Ireland's telecommunications regulator.
The Commission for Communications Regulation assumed responsibility for the communications sector in December 2002, replacing the Office of the Director of Telecommunications Regulation. It has been given increased powers to regulate the sector, for example by increasing penalties and by imposing material requirements on network operators in relation to road openings.
The long-awaited Communications Regulation Bill was passed into law in April 2002. The bill was a major lobbying point for many technology and telecommunications companies, which consider its enactment essential for the development of broadband technology in Ireland. This update outlines its main provisions.
The competition for the allocation of 3G licences in Ireland was finally launched in December 2001. The launch had been delayed for over a year due to a difference of opinion between the minister for finance and the director of telecommunications regulation over the price of the licences. The licences will be awarded by way of a beauty contest.
A decision was recently handed down in the long-running litigation between Meridian Communications Ltd and Eircell, the former mobile subsidiary of the incumbent telecommunications operator. The judge found for Meridian on a number of contractual issues but rejected Meridian's contention that Eircell had breached competition law.
The Independent Radio and Television Commission is inviting submissions on its ownership guidelines for independent broadcasting, including independent commercial radio stations.
The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour recently published a memorandum of law that aims to combat unwanted charges in mobile phone bills attributed to either internet transactions or acquisitions of mobile content services, mostly by minors. The memorandum is awaiting public comment before being brought before the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset) as a government bill and voted into law.
An appeal committee of the Second Authority for Television and Radio (the authority regulating commercial television in Israel) recently ruled that an advertisement comparing ADSL internet broadband services to broadband services offered by cable companies was misleading. The ruling marks the first time that a regulatory agency has entered into the debate regarding the quality of service offered by these technologies.
Due to its emphasis on innovation, the telecommunications sector has remained relatively stable throughout the ongoing economic crisis, with largely steady growth in recent years. However, the telecommunications market has always been volatile, so before investing capital, it is important to carry out a detailed analysis of both the standing of the business in question and the market forecast for the coming years.
The telecoms sector is attracting increasing attention in Italy. With the so-called Decreto Sviluppo 2.0, the government has adopted legislation supporting innovative start-ups and certified incubators. The new law aims to promote sustainable growth, technological development and new entrepreneurship and employment, which would be particularly beneficial for telecoms operators and investors.
GARR-X (the Italian University and Research Network) is the first next-generation network to be released in Italy. The new network was launched by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research. It will allow Italian researchers to connect with the wider community of international researchers. This is a first, significant step towards digital innovation in the context of schools, universities and research.
'Crescita 2.0' is the body of rules comprising the second Growth Decree that was proposed by the minister for economic development, infrastructure and transport and recently approved by the Council of Ministers. The decree aims to make Italy a place where innovation is the driving force behind sustainable growth and one of the key factors of its industrial competitiveness.
The creation of the Digital Agency for Italy is a key step towards a governance framework for the digital agenda. However, it is only part of a development programme which will have an impact on Italy's telecommunications industry and infrastructure. Among other things, the prime minister and EU minister are seeking a partial exemption for broadband investments from Italy's deficit and fiscal compact arrangements.
Telecommunications companies have long been waiting for a credible strategy to support digital innovation in Italy. The news that the Monti government is accelerating the implementation of Italy's digital agenda, through its approval of a new working group, gives them good reason to hope for a more positive future.
The Ministry of Information and Communication has gazetted five new regulations aimed at aiding the Communication Commission in its statutory role of regulating the telecommunications industry. Among other things, the regulations seek to facilitate the efficient resolution of disputes between service providers in the industry and give the commission greater powers to regulate service providers' tariff regimes.
The Communications and Multimedia Commission has commenced an analysis of telecommunications legislation. It has indicated that strategic issues will be presented to the industry for consultation before the consultation is finalized. The degree of consultation with the industry is in contrast to the previous regulatory regime.
Since the enactment of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, the telecommunications regulator has implemented initiatives to optimize the use of existing infrastructure by (i) requiring mobile telephone operators to provide a domestic roaming service between networks, and (ii) introducing a new universal service scheme.
The domestic communications industry is still in its infancy and, in time, market trends should identify quality of service (QOS) indicators and shape QOS standards. For the time being, however, the new minimalist mandatory standards which the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has introduced seem to suit industry needs very well.
It is hoped that a new consumer code will promote a high level of consumer confidence in the services delivered by the communications industry, protect consumer information and create an inexpensive dispute resolution process, in addition to providing compensation for consumers where appropriate.
The award of the third generation (3G) spectrum is to be announced shortly. New players in the form of mobile virtual network operators are expected to emerge and utilize other licensees' infrastructure to provide services.
Highlights of the latest developments from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission are the marketing plan for the assignment of spectrum for 3G networks and tariff rebalancing for fixed-line telephony.
The recent change in government has brought many interesting developments through the so-called 'Pact for Mexico' - an agreement between the three dominant political parties in the country to work together. The pact includes proposed amendments to several telecommunications laws that would give Mexicans greater access to world-class telecommunications services and diverse networks.
Earlier this year the Ministry of Communications and Transport began legal proceedings to change the use of the 2.5 gigahertz band to provide 4G mobile services. To date, there has been little previous public policy on the use of frequencies in order to tackle the low number of wireless internet service providers, so a key question for existing licensees is why the new policy must impose such a burden on them.
The Ministry of Communications and Transport has initiated proceedings to change the use of the 2.5 gigahertz frequency band. Users of the frequencies were notified of the new policy. The ministry plans to revoke these users' licences – which entitle them only to deliver television services and value added services – and thereafter auction off the frequencies for the provision of 4G mobile services.
The auction of 2.6 gigahertz frequencies will take place in the first quarter of 2010. This is the fourth time that the date of the auction, which was initially set for 2007, has been postponed. The latest postponement is due to the addition of a sixth licence to the auction.
The Independent Post and Telecommunications Authority has published policy rules governing tariffs for access to fibre networks. The policy rules seek to strike a balance between promoting competition and encouraging innovation. They encourage efficient investment in fibre networks so as to allow competitors access to these networks without having to pay an excessive price.
The Dutch Telecommunications Authority (OPTA) published a draft market decision for wholesale fixed termination access (FTA) on August 15 2008. In the draft decision OPTA sets out the remedies for the regulatory period starting January 1 2009. In comparison to the current regulatory framework, the most significant change is the imposition of symmetric maximum termination rates.
The Dutch Telecommunications Authority (OPTA) has published draft market decisions covering the markets for fixed telephony, broadband and leased lines. In the draft decisions OPTA sets out the remedies for the regulatory period ahead. Notably, the decisions dispense with incumbent KPN's current retail obligations on the fixed telephony market.
The Radiocommunications Agency Netherlands has imposed an order for incremental penalty payments after finding that mobile telecommunications operator Telfort had violated the rollout obligations of its Universal Mobile Telecommunications System licence. Telfort faces a €5 million fine for every three-month period of non-compliance.
The legality of text competitions has been the focus of recent media attention in New Zealand after at least one telecommunications operator announced that it has suspended text competitions on its mobile network while it seeks further legal advice on whether such competitions may breach the Gambling Act 2003.
Telecom New Zealand Limited has decided to establish a scheme which it says is designed to manage the impact of increased internet traffic on its network. Competing carriers and internet service providers have been outraged by Telecom's heavy-handed approach. However, after much public dispute, the situation appears to have been settled.
The minister of communications recently announced that a ministerial inquiry will be conducted to look at the extent to which the current regulatory regime meets the government's objective for the telecommunications services markets. A report is expected by end September.
Internet providers have accused Telecom of breaching the Kiwi Share obligations that give some governmental control over pricing. However, so far the government has agreed not to challenge Telecom on this matter.
Mobile number portability (MNP) is a customer's strongest weapon in the telecommunications industry, because it strengthens the customer's ability to choose any network operator without losing his or her telecommunications 'identity'. Following much discussion and numerous postponements, the Nigeria Communications Commission and operators have finally commenced a pilot MNP services in Lagos.
Telecommunications operators have complained about increased vandalism of their equipment and installations, and high operational costs. However, these costs could be significantly reduced if regulators and operators were more committed to infrastructure sharing and co-location. Nigerian Communications Commission guidelines are a step in the right direction, but a more proactive approach would reap greater rewards.
Recent developments around the world on the illegal interception of private communications have highlighted the need for Nigeria to establish a regulatory framework on interception. Two draft bills are pending: the Interception and Monitoring Bill 2009 is before the Senate, while the Telecommunications Facilities (Lawful Interception of Information) Bill 2010 is before the House of Representatives.
The laws regulating mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures in the telecommunications sector are extensive and such arrangements must be undertaken in compliance with the laws in order to avoid penalties, such as suspension or revocation of a licensee's licence, imposition of administrative fines and the unwinding of the transaction.
At the end of 2010 Nigeria's four main telecommunications operators reduced their tariffs significantly in a strategy to increase their market share. Competition for market share is the most significant factor in the pricing of telecommunications services at present, yet it may cause problems as the commission attempts to achieve its objective of ensuring the provision of "affordable communications services".
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently published its Determination on Dominance In Selected Communications Markets in Nigeria. The NCC held that the telecommunications regulatory framework provides specific remedies to address substantiated cases of anti-competitive conduct and, in most cases, these remedies can be implemented without a finding of dominance.
After carrying out a new analysis of Market 16 and considering the comments submitted by operators, the Post and Telecommunications Authority has recently published a new decision on Market 16. The authority identified Telenor ASA, Netcom AS, Tele2, TDC Song and MTU as operators with significant market power, and notified the obligations that it would impose on them.
In its decision on Market 9 - the market for call termination on the fixed public telephone network - the Post and Telecommunications Authority required providers with significant market power in this market to implement termination charges based on Telenor's prices. In a subsequent draft decision the authority found that Telio had failed to justify the need to charge higher termination prices.
The Post and Telecommunications Authority has recently notified its decision on Market 18. The authority decided to divide the market into five markets based on their technical platform and service level. Because none of the markets met all the conditions for ex ante regulation, the authority did not assess whether any operators have significant market power in any of the markets.
On April 21 2006 the Post and Telecommunications Authority issued a decision concluding that Telenor had significant market power in Markets 1 to 6 and imposing regulatory obligations on Telenor. Tele2 has now appealed the decision, claiming that, following the decision, it will no longer be able to compete with Telenor in the traditional telephony market.
Pursuant to the Electronic Communications Act, the Post and Telecommunications Authority has identified Telenor ASA as an operator with significant market power in Markets 1 to 6 (retail markets for fixed telephony) and notified the obligations that it would impose on it. The authority has presented a draft decision to the European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority and is awaiting its comments.
Pursuant to the Electronic Communications Act, the Post and Telecommunications Authority has identified Telenor Mobil as an operator with significant market power in Market 15 and notified the obligations that it would impose on it. The authority has presented a draft decision to the European Free Trade Association Surveillance Authority and is awaiting its comments.
CONATEL's new regime for the interconnection of private telecommunications companies applies to providers of basic telephony services and mobile and prepaid discount cellular services. In the event of any disagreement regarding a contract's interpretation, performance or breach, either party has the right to file a petition or claim before CONATEL.
The new fixed wireless multipoint telephone service is regulated by National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) Resolution 30, which aims to establish provisions concerning the granting of licences for the service, among other things.
New rules by OSIPTEL will allow cable television users to access information about their rights and obligations in subscribing to certain services.
The telecommunications regulatory agency OSIPTEL has modified certain articles of one of its resolutions enacted in 2000. These modifications are designed to complement the regulatory framework, promote competition and establish the necessary conditions for reducing charges to users.
This update provides a summary of a number of recent OSIPTEL (the industry regulatory body) decisions that relate to various aspects of the telecommunications industry. Issues include the marketing of public services, long-distance selection procedures and claim settlement guidelines.
New legislation has recently been enacted which broadens the supervisory powers of the telecommunications industry regulatory body (OSIPTEL). OSIPTEL itself has also enacted a number of new regulations. These include the establishment of maximum rates that can be charged for access to the Internet and long-distance mobile rates.
Since March 2005 several Portuguese telecommunications operators have provided Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services. ANACOM, the Portuguese telecommunications regulator, has now launched a public consultation on their regulation; the growth of the new technology has implications for numbering resources and operators' universal service obligations.
A decision of ANACOM, Portugal's domestic telecommunications regulator, regarding pricing and cost orientation on mobile networks was recently challenged in the courts by one of Portugal's three mobile operators, even though the operator in question may benefit from temporary positive price discrimination. This is the first case against the regulator which challenges its market analysis procedures.
ANACOM, Portugal's domestic telecommunications regulator, has recently been one of Europe's most active national regulatory authorities in analyzing and imposing obligations on product and service markets within the electronic communications sector. Since July 2004 it has analyzed 12 out of 18 markets identified by the European Commission as requiring market analysis and ex ante regulation.
The municipal fee for rights of way is being implemented. The fee was introduced by the Electronic Communications Law, which establishes that certain rights and levies of telecommunications operators at fixed locations may be subject to a fee. Unfortunately, to date, the new regime has proved problematic.
The government has approved a legislative proposal which would afford law enforcement agencies unlimited access to traffic data processed by communications and electronic communications operators. The proposal has come under fire as it would disproportionately increase the costs of telecommunications operators and severely endanger citizens' right to privacy.
Several months after the deadline established by the Electronic Communications Law, the Portuguese telecommunications regulator has finally approved a regulation setting out the procedures for the collection and delivery to municipalities of the new rights of way tax.
The president of the National Regulatory Authority for Communications and Information Technology has announced the rules and procedures for transferring subscribers' numbers between service providers. The authority's decision includes rules on apportioning costs and informing customers.
The National Regulatory Authority for Communications and Information Technology has identified the conclusion of the national numbering plan as its priority. In the course of 2008 it will implement changes which will affect, among other things, short local and national numbers and numbers for special tariff services.
The implementation of number portability is one of the developments to which Romania is committed by the terms of its accession to the European Union. It is also considered a necessary step towards stimulating competition in the field of electronic communications.
The National Regulatory Authority for Communications has been replaced by the National Regulatory Authority for Communications and Information Technology. The former regulator's responsibilities in the electronic communications and postal services sectors have been transferred to the new authority, which has also taken on certain responsibilities in the field of information technology.
The Info-Communication Development Authority of Singapore recently released the Code of Practice for Competition in the Provision of Telecommunication Services. The code seeks to define the boundaries for the conduct of competition in a fully liberalized telecommunications environment. Its objective is to establish an appropriate regulatory regime conducive to the development of a competitive market place.
The Singapore government has decided on the licensing framework for third-generation mobile services. It will award four licences by auction. This decision was reached after studying the method of spectrum allocation in various countries and taking into account industry opinion.
In June 1999, the Singapore government announced its intention to formulate the Infocomm 21 Masterplan. The masterplan aims to develop Singapore into a dynamic and vibrant infocommunication hub, with a thriving and prosperous e-economy. The Ministry for Communications and Information Technology recently announced some major strategies to be set out in the masterplan.
The Info-communications Development Authority has released a new licensing framework, in the spirit of liberalization, encouraging the entry of new market players and expanding the scope of existing operations.
The government recently announced that has lifted foreign equity limits for all public telecommunications services licences and that it will open the telecommunications sector to full market competition two years ahead of schedule.
On November 23 the Singapore government merged the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore with other related agencies in order to better deal with the convergence of the IT, telecommunication and multimedia sectors.
Parliament has recently proposed changes to the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act which are set to ease the regulatory burden on mobile network operators and resellers of mobile airtime. Among other things, the changes affect the requirements for collection of customer identity documentation and the ways in which it may be stored.
On August 29 2008 the Pretoria High Court put an abrupt end to the managed liberalization of telecommunications in South Africa by ruling that some 300 providers of value-added network services may lay down their own infrastructures. In mid-September 2008 the minister applied to appeal against the judgment; it is likely that the minister’s appeal will be heard in 2009.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa recently published a draft position paper for comment which outlines the process that it proposes to follow when granting spectrum licences, particularly Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) licences, in circumstances where demand exceeds supply.
The draft of the new General Telecommunications Law received approval on December 28 2012. Among other things, the draft aims to facilitate network roll-out and broadband penetration, and abolishes the licensing and permit system with the aim of eliminating unnecessary administrative hurdles.
The Telecommunications Market Commission is completing its assessment of the 18 electronic communications markets that have been identified by the European Commission. The resolutions imposing specific conditions on operators with significant market power in those markets will be implemented during Spring 2006. So far the Telecommunications Market Commission has published five reports.
In December 2005 the Telecommunications Market Commission submitted to the European Commission its draft report on the market for access and call origination on public mobile telephone networks. The report states that dominant mobile telephone operators must offer third-party access to their networks. This should allow mobile virtual network operators to obtain access under reasonable terms.
On September 29 2005 and October 13 2005, following a market analysis procedure, the Telecommunications Market Commission published reports on access to mobile telephony networks in various markets. The reports aim to ensure compliance with a new EU framework. This update reviews the commission's conclusions with regards to the various markets.
In July 2005 the Telecommunications Market Commission launched a competition analysis procedure in the market for access to mobile telephony networks, as required by the new EU regulatory framework. The commission detected important legal and structural barriers to entry into this market and recommended that the dominant operators offer third-party access to their networks.
The Spanish government recently approved the Electronic Communication Services Regulation, which sets out the conditions applicable to the provision of electronic communication services with regard to universal service and consumer protection. It also modifies certain aspects of the rules on the use of the radio-electric spectrum which were approved in 2000.
Following recent amendments, the Utility Easements Act now clearly stipulates that it is possible to grant easements not only for wires and cables, but also for other devices that form part of an electronic communications network. It is also now possible for a utility easement decision to stipulate that the holder may allow a third party to install and use an additional wire or cable.
The Swedish telecommunications agency recently invited companies to participate in a 'beauty contest' for fixed wireless access licences. The allocation will include 42 county-based licences and one nationwide licence. The agency has also granted a Global System for Mobile Communications licence to the company SweFour AB.
Interconnection fees have a huge impact on competition and therefore the functioning of the mobile communication market, since they make up a significant part of the price that the end customer must pay to make a call. For this reason the Swedish National Post and Telecom Agency keeps a close eye on fees charged by operators.
On January 10 2002 the Swedish National Post and Telecom Agency invited interested companies to apply for the fourth nationwide Global system for Communication (GSM) licence. The agency plans to award the licence by June 30 2002.
According to the Swedish National Post and Telecom's latest report on the development of the UMTS networks, the three operators have so far fulfilled their commitments under the agreements made when the licences were granted.
One of the four companies that was granted a licence for fixed terrestrial radio access, Telenordia Access, has decided to return the licence. It reached this decision after discovering that there were uncertainties attached to the future distribution of certain frequencies and the price of access to Telia's copper network.
A recent decision confirms that historic ancillary communications data must be made accessible for the investigation of suspected crimes. However, since internet service providers (ISPs) are legally obliged to store historical data for a period of six months only, this decision is not overly burdensome. If an ISP stores data stored beyond this six-month period, it may be required to make this available in case of an investigation.
Two guidelines regarding lawful interception were recently revised and have subsequently entered into force, while a third guideline has been published for the first time. The main amendments include the delivery method for circuit-switched services and defining which information must be provided to the interception service for each addressing resource.
Sunrise Communications AG requested a review of prices for the resale of telephone access. The Federal Communication Commission concluded that Swisscom (Schweiz) AG should reduce the price that it charges for the resale of telephone numbers. Swisscom appealed and the Federal Administrative Court largely upheld the appeal.
In a recent decision, the Federal Supreme Court laid down principles that can be applied to state-owned enterprises in competition with privately owned telecommunications enterprises. It is not uncommon for public entities to extend their activity beyond their monopoly; however, they must adhere to strict principles to prevent the public enterprise from cross-subsidising private sector telecommunications activity.
The Federal Council recently issued a new report on the telecommunications market. This follows a similar report published in 2010, which identified several shortcomings in the regulatory system, but found no urgent need for the legal framework to be revised. The 2012 report concludes that the existing legal framework could be improved, as its deficiencies have become more evident over time.
The Federal Administrative Court has largely rejected an appeal filed by Swisscom against a Federal Communication Commission (ComCom) decision that Swisscom be required to offer leased lines at cost-oriented prices. The court remanded the case to ComCom for a technical correction to the cost allocation for the splicing costs.
Including: Groundwork Laid for Unified Regulator; Interconnection, Numbers, Equal Access and MVNOs; Telecommunications Act Amendments; Future Initiatives.
China Mobile and FarEasTone recently announced that the share transfer agreement executed between them in 2009 will expire in June 2013. In addition, the two companies will not discuss equity investment again until the Taiwanese authorities lift the ban prohibiting Chinese citizens and legal entities from investing in the Taiwanese telecommunications industry.
The National Communications Commission had planned to resolve existing disputes regarding network interconnections between major telecommunications operators by amending the existing Regulations Governing Network Interconnections between Telecommunications Enterprises by the end of 2012. However, this objective was not achieved and a hearing is due to be conducted on April 25 2013.
Further to its efforts to introduce functional separation in Chunghwa Telecom in the latest amendments to the Telecommunications Act, the National Communications Commission (NCC) has again submitted a legislative proposal to the Executive Yuan for approval. The NCC has proposed that Chunghwa Telecom should always offer equal prices for the provision of access, if functional separation is not approved.
The National Communications Commission recently announced that mobile access tariffs will be adjusted. The commission believes that easing retail price control in the mobile communications market will help to reduce the burden on smaller operators and guide market competitors to further reduce retail prices.
The National Communications Commission plans to deregulate spectrum trading in 2013. However, major telecommunications operators are sceptical about the fast-changing policy and have questioned whether it is realistic to implement a spectrum trading system in less than a year when a draft regulation has not yet been made available for public consultation.
The National Communications Commission has announced that the Regulations Governing Network Interconnections Among Telecommunications Operators will be amended, and network interconnections between three major operators will soon be required to be free of charge. The newly amended regulations will also require other operators to invest in infrastructure in order to enjoy free interconnections.
A number of new regulations have been introduced into the telecommunications market in order to provide for and protect competition. Not all of the telecommunications companies have welcomed the new regulations. Rather than sparking a brutal pricing war, the new competitive pressure has pushed advertisers into being more creative with their campaigns.
Long-distance telephone service licences are expected to be issued in the near future. In addition to a clear licensing regime, it is hoped that the Telecommunications Authority will quickly establish an effective system in which prices, terms and conditions of interconnection are all defined.
In 2004 the government enacted a new Telecommunications Ordinance designed to liberalize the local telecommunications market. Among other things, the ordinance has established a Telecommunications Commission whose functions include the regulation of telecommunications, the maintenance of competition, the promotion of consumer interests and the establishment of quality standards.
The new Telecommunications Law was enacted in July, but was vetoed by the president due to concerns that some of its provisions were unconstitutional. The law was revised accordingly and is once again awaiting presidential approval. Among other things, the law provides for the separation of administrative and regulatory functions in the telecommunications sector.
For almost two years the State Committee for Communications and Information, ostensibly the regulator of the Ukrainian telecommunications sector, has also been vested with the management of the incumbent operator, UkrTelekom. The government is now working towards separating these functions with the aim of liberalization, but independent analysts remain unconvinced.
A controversial amendment prohibiting all telecommunications operators from charging their customers for incoming calls is due to take effect in September. The change has met with fierce resistance from mobile operators, which are likely to be most affected. Customers will also benefit from further changes which are expected to force operators to introduce per-second billing.
Mobile TeleSystems, one of the largest mobile operators in Eastern Europe, has acquired a 57.7% stake in Ukrainian Mobile Communications, the second largest Ukrainian mobile operator, for €194.2 million. Despite negative publicity and strong resistance to the transaction, the Anti-monopoly Committee concluded that it did not adversely affect competition in the telecommunications sector.
A new law proposes that incoming call charges be abolished for all types of telephone communication. Mobile operators have lobbied against the law, alleging that it would trigger a crisis in the telecommunications industry and a reduction in tax proceeds.
Ukrtelekom recently disconnected several local operators from its network upon discovering evidence suggesting that they were providing internet protocol telephony services without a licence. While the Anti-monopoly Committee found that Urktelekom was within its rights to do so, the dispute has now been resolved and access has been restored.
In 2007 the Office of Communications (OFCOM) developed a strategic framework to guide all work undertaken until 2010. As part of the annual planning process, OFCOM has published its 2008-09 Annual Plan, which highlights upcoming regulatory issues, such as spectrum auctions and next-generation access.
The government is due to publish a Communications Data Bill with the aim of implementing the EU Data Retention Directive and changing the procedures for acquiring data from communications providers. The directive covers fixed and mobile telephony, internet access, internet email and internet telephony.
The Competition Appeal Tribunal's judgment on the various appeals brought against the Office of Communications' determinations of mobile termination rate disputes was a scathing examination for the regulator, which was found to have erred on no less than 13 substantive points.
The Office of Communications has published a consultation document on the legal framework under which spectrum usage rights licensing will operate. The document, which also provides further technical information, follows an initial consultation document issued in April 2006.
A consultation by the Office of Communications (OFCOM) in late 2006 presented initial views on market definition, significant market power and likely remedies. Twelve months on, OFCOM has offered further analysis of the market and the operators involved.
The Office of Communications (OFCOM) published a consultation document on monitoring compliance with charge controls. OFCOM considers that the existing framework does not deliver sufficient confidence and has proposed measures to make it more independent and less opaque.
The Federal Communications Commission has released a further notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment on proposed service rules for advanced wireless service spectrum in the 1.9 and 2.1 gigahertz bands, including rules that would require the licensee to provide free public access to a nationwide high-speed wireless broadband internet network.
In mid-June, the Senate unanimously approved Bill HR 3403 that will afford Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers the same interconnection rights to E911 emergency call services as other voice service providers. VoIP providers will have to register with the Federal Communications Commission in order to identify a 911 point of contact for public safety and government officials.
The Rural Cellular Association has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission for a rulemaking to prohibit exclusive distribution contracts between wireless carriers and manufacturers of wireless handsets. It argues that the lack of competitive handset suppliers prevents many consumers from obtaining premium equipment at reasonable prices.
A new antitrust-based net neutrality bill that would affirmatively require operators to ensure equal treatment of all content, applications and services has been introduced. The Internet Freedom and Non-discrimination Act would amend the Clayton Act to prohibit discrimination, while permitting providers to use non-discriminatory traffic management practices.
The Federal Communications Commission has voted in support of an interim cap on high-cost universal service support for competitive eligible telecommunications carriers (CETCs). The order established a state-by-state limit on total CETC support which will be implemented by means of a state reduction factor.
At its May open meeting the Federal Communications Commission unanimously adopted a further notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment on how to re-auction the 700 megahertz D Block licence that was not acquired in the recent Auction 73. The notice seeks comment on a wide range of issues, including whether the proposed public-private partnership should be retained and overhauled.
A resolution concerning the elements that may be incorporated in telecommunications licences has been issued. Each element allows its holder to engage in all of the activities necessary to install and establish telecommunications equipment and infrastructure, including connections to render each service.
Including: The New Law; Background; Scope of the Law; Prices and Rates; Services; Concessions; Rights of Way; Interconnection; Certification; Taxes; Use of Satellites; Universal Service; Telecommunications Development; Violations and Sanctions
A new Telecommunications Law came into force on June 13 2000. It promotes foreign investment and competition, and it sets out a number of consumer rights.