2 February – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The European Commissi…

2 February – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The European Commission has given the Spanish telecoms regulator, the Comisión del Mercado de las Telecomunicaciones or CMT, the go-ahead, although with some reservations, to force Spanish mobile operators to open their networks to third parties.

The mobile operators must listen to “reasonable offers” made by third parties to provide services over their networks. The CMT has indicated that it will “intervene in the event of conflict”.

Competition Issues

Among the measures that the CMT proposed to the European Commission to encourage competition in the Spanish mobile telephone market, the CMT is to force the current Spanish mobile operators, Telefónica Móviles, Vodafone and Amena, to allow virtual mobile operators to access their networks.

The European Commission had the authority to veto this measure proposed by the CMT if it deemed it unnecessary. However, at a press conference held yesterday, the Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes gave the CMT’s proposal her ” unqualified support”.

Kroes believes that the three fixed telephony operators in Spain enjoy a dominant position in the wholesale telephony market which discourages them from opening their networks to third parties. However, she has expressly requested that the CMT keep a close eye on the impact Xfera’s entry to the market may have on competition. Xfera is a mobile operator granted a licence to operate from year 2000, and which could begin providing services in 2006.

The Competition Commissioner’s backing goes against the opinion expressed by the Information Society Commissioner, who considers this measure premature, believing that it may lead to a fall in profitability of current infrastructures.

Reaction

The three current operators expressed displeasure as the news, but wished to wait for the CMT to make a final proposal.

On the other hand, there are many companies hoping to provide services as virtual operators, for which they will require registration in the CMT’s Operators Register and to reach an commercial agreement with an operator owning its own network.

For further informaton please contact:

Rupert Winlaw, public relations, on +44 20 7456 3219 ([email protected])

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