12 December, 2022

GSMA - ETNO response to BEREC Call for input about the Review of the Intra-EU Communications Regulation

The GSMA and ETNO would like to use the opportunity to contribute to the future BEREC opinion analysing the measures on intra-EU communications.

In our contribution we reflect on the work done by BEREC collecting the inputs for three consecutive “Intra-EU communications BEREC Benchmark Reports”, and on our own experiences with the market development.

We would like to point out, first and foremost, that regulation of intra-EU calls is in many ways unprecedented. It covers domestic services, it came in the form of a direct price-cap set at EU level (“BEREC Regulation”)[1] and it was not based on any analysis of individual national markets or considering the adequacy of competition law to resolve the perceived bottlenecks. In our view, the intervention should have been preceded and justified by a proper market assessment to avoid unintended and negative consequences. There was for example no proper reflection on the competitive impacts of the variety of tariff options for intra-EU communications offered by providers of number-based interpersonal communication services; the existence of offers enabling access to the services of alternative operators over the number-based interpersonal communication service, such as call-by-call, pre-select and call-through; or the availability and extensive use of web-based interpersonal communication services provided over the internet (NI-ICS (whatsapp like services)).

Further, data gathered by BEREC has consistently demonstrated vigorous price competition far below the “safeguard caps” set by the EU rules, and so the rules in themselves did not bring any step change in the state of the market. In our view this strongly indicates that the intervention in this market has not been warranted, as the same results would have been achieved in the absence of any EU rules.

We are therefore convinced that there is neither a need to prolong nor to modify the current rules beyond their expiration date, as competition on intra-EU communications is proven.

For further questions, please contact Maarit Palovirta, Senior Director Regulatory Affairs, ETNO (palovirta@etno.eu) or Xhoana Shehu, Policy Manager, ETNO (shehu@etno.eu) and Lotte Abildgaard (labildgaard@gsma.com), Director Public Policy, GSMA.

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