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Telecommunications Regulatory Policy Dr. Iris Henseler-Unger, Vice-President

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Telecommunications Regulatory Policy Dr. Iris Henseler-Unger, Vice-President Regulierungsbehörde für Telekommunikation und Post ITS Conference Panel Discussion – Plenary Session Berlin – 6 September 2004. Crisis? What crisis?.

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Telecommunications Regulatory Policy

  • Dr. Iris Henseler-Unger, Vice-President
  • Regulierungsbehörde für Telekommunikation und Post
  • ITS Conference
  • Panel Discussion – Plenary Session
  • Berlin – 6 September 2004
crisis what crisis
Crisis? What crisis?
  • Compared with other sectors of the economy, the ICT sector was and is a very dynamic sector of the economy
  • However when after the boom of the late ’90ties the internet bubble burst in 2001 a turning point marked the beginning of a new phase with more realistic expectations
  • The capital market downturn had a real impact as funding became more difficult, especially for fixed new entrants
  • Consolidation of the market to be seen positively as a sign that market forces started to work
  • Diversity of market players as many different business models compete
  • High debt levels caused UMTS operators to adjust their roll-out plans, but optimism is slowly regaining
yearly growth rates of gdp and ict market
Yearly Growth Rates of GDP and ICT-Market

Quelle: DESTATIS, Eurostat und BITKOM

german telecoms market
German Telecoms Market
  • Market volume 2003: ca. 63 bn. € (2002: 61.3 bn. €)
  • Number of jobs nearly unchanged
  • Competitors‘ market shares increased in fixed networks
  • Growth for
    • Fixed network services
    • Unbundled access to the local loop: 1.35 mio lines
    • Fast internet access: 5 mio DSL lines (estim. VATM) 4.7 mio DSL lines of DTAG, 400,000 competitors
    • Mobile telephony
  • Competitors of DTAG spent less on wholesale services of DTAG as they invest in own infrastructure!

Regulatory Challenges

  • Regulation can provide a stable framework for competitive and innovative forces to work
  • Enable investment in new technologies (emerging markets) while preventing the leverage of market power
  • Converging technologies lead to new markets as different markets overlap (e.g. VoIP)
  • Diversity of market players and business models require a more differentiated regulatory approach
  • High market dynamic requires more flexibility for regulators in order to intervene in a timely manner
  • Emerging competitive market structures require sector specific regulation to align towards general competition law
  • The New European Regulatory Framework on Electronic Communications Networks and Services provides a framework for the challenges ahead

Status of Consultation on VoIP

  • April 21, 2004: Consultation on VoIP
  • 64 comments received, which were published on 30 July
  • Questions adressed:
    • Competitive development of VoIP: legal, economic and technical aspects
    • VoIP business models (overview and possible classification)
    • Consumer protection and public interest (e.g.: emergency calls, intercepts)
  • Aims of the consultation: To develop
    • a framework enabling the market to exploit chances and potentials of VoIP
    • a first position on regulatory classification of VoIP based on comments
  • October 18, 2004: RegTP Forum in Bonn
new regulatory approach i
New Regulatory Approach (I)
  • The new Telecoms Act entered into force on 26 June 2004 transposing the European ECNS Framework
  • Regulation is still needed, but should be phased out slowly
  • Promotion of self-sustaining competition
  • Promotion of efficient investments
  • Technology neutral regulation
  • Market definition and analysis procedure according to the Framework Directive ongoing
  • National consultation of market no. 11 (unbundled local loop) started on 18 August 2004
  • Other market reviews are in the pipeline
  • Notification of draft measures planned for the next few weeks
  • Only general authorisation needed, except in case of scarce resources (spectrum)
new regulatory approach ii
New Regulatory Approach (II)
  • In case an operator is designated as SMP operator, at least one obligation must be imposed to remedy the competition problem identified
  • The general rule: strict regulation on the wholesale level, retail level regulation only if wholesale regulation is not sufficient
  • The new Telecoms Act provides for a differentiated set of remedies:
    • Non-Discrimination (section 19)
    • Transparency (section 20)
    • Access obligations (section 21, criteria must be checked)
    • Standard offer (section 23)
    • Interconnection dispute resolution settlement (section25)
    • Rates regulation (section 27ff) + accounting separation)
conclusion i
Conclusion (I)
  • The European Framework is not in contrast to German ideas of regulating the telecommunications sector as it enforces the idea of stepwise liberalisation of the market towards general competition law
  • However, regulation is still needed, but needs to be justified in greater detail
  • While the initial phase of liberalization required strict automatic reactions, the second phase requires a more tailored approach
  • Regulatory measures depend on the outcome of the market reviews and must be proportionale and appropriate
conclusion ii
Conclusion (II)
  • The new Telecoms Act gives RegTP the powers
    • to intervene in a timely manner
    • to react flexible
    • to make a more differentiated use of the remedies
    • to give adaquate answers according to the state of competition:- with less intrusive interventions in more advanced markets and - continued strict regulation where needed to prevent leveraging of market power (as in bottleneck type markets such as the local loop)
  • The complete regulatory toolbox is available and RegTP is starting to use it