Public consultation for the Fitness Check of EU consumer and marketing law - Complementary Policy Paper of ETNO and GSMA
GSMA and ETNO welcome the opportunity to present telecoms’ point of view on the public consultation. Anticipating the various parallel ongoing legislation and review processes, the Fitness Check of EU Consumer and Marketing Law provides a unique window of opportunity to establish more efficient and consistent consumer protection standards across service markets. This particularly refers to the alignment of horizontal law with rules applied to telecoms’ services for end-users.
While overall horizontal laws prove to provide effective consumer protection standards, market developments challenge the current patchwork of the Consumer Acquis: The convergence of services which were in the past different (e.g. services that allow communication), bundling of different services in integrated offerings (e.g. social networks with communication, telecoms bundles) and very short innovation cycles demand a re-think. Consumers can no longer rely on consistent protection standards across service markets, and service providers have to manage the overlapping and fragmented rules across sectors and borders. More strictly regulated telecoms have to compete with less regulated
providers of substitutable services. Apart from this, horizontal law does not sufficiently cover certain consumer issues, such as applying similar protection standards to any commercial service, irrespective of whether consumers pay with money or with their personal data. More recently emerged issues which may become detrimental for businesses or consumers, including a lack of law enforcement and the need to have harmonised requirements for both B2B and B2C regulation, have to be considered in a comprehensive assessment.
To appropriately address these challenges and reflect the increased competition in service markets, the regulatory fragmentation across services needs to be significantly reduced. This should be achieved through lifting specific service regulation as much as possible, and relying on horizontal protection standards. Only selected adjustments in horizontal laws are required, to consistently address identified challenges. Not more prescription but a more principle-based approach, complemented by co- and self-regulation, ensures the required flexibility for dynamically evolving services.
Based on this general position, the following explanation provides ETNO and GSMA members’ detailed views on the European Commission’s specific questions, as included in the consultation questionnaire.