06 May, 2021


ETNO and GSMA welcome the Commission’s initiative to create a harmonised ex-ante instrument targeted at the providers of core platforms services designated as gatekeepers via the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Current legislative instruments are not sufficient to ensure contestable and fair markets in the digital economy. This would also support the DMA’s objective to strengthen the internal market by setting out harmonised rules across the EU.

We share the Commission’s concerns about unfair and anticompetitive conducts by a few large digital platforms, which stifle opportunities for competitors and ultimately have a chilling effect on innovation and diminish consumer choice.

Telecommunications operators are both business partners and customers of online platforms. Furthermore, we strive to compete with gatekeepers in our core business and other activities, such as in cloud computing. Our relationship with online platforms is manifold and includes inter alia the use of online advertising, operating systems incorporating aspects of the device hardware and software, or app stores. Additionally, devices connected through our networks often provide access to the platforms in question. 

Beyond these direct links to telecoms’ business activities, telecoms have a vital general interest in Europe’s digital prosperity and sovereignty, which require a healthy and competitive digital platforms sector. An ambitious and balanced DMA has the potential to lead the way, globally, in improving market dynamics in the field of digital services. It can create competitive and innovative markets that deliver superior results for citizens in Europe and worldwide.

Executive Summary:

  • Welcome a new ex-ante regulation to promote fair competition in digital markets: where competition law is insufficient to tackle problems arising from entrenched and durable dominance in digital markets, level-playing field needs to be restored through new ex-ante regulation targeted at gatekeepers that are not already subject to asymmetric regulation;
  • Support the sets of prohibitions and obligations for designated gatekeepers. The lists of do’s and don’ts could be further strengthened to address all the relevant problems and to benefit contestability more broadly. It is crucial that obligations be accompanied by a detailed remedy-setting process, with clear timing stages, and involving interested stakeholders in the dialogue between the Commission and regulated gatekeepers to ensure the correct implementation of these measures.
  • Ensure legal certainty in gatekeepers designation: the mechanism to designate gatekeepers below the thresholds defined in Article 3 should be reviewed in order to keep the focus on providers of core platform services acting as gatekeepers, prevent legal uncertainty, and avoid arbitrary application of Article 15;
  • Advocate for a flexible and proportionate framework based on clear criteria: the market investigation into new services and practices is a key element of the In order to safeguard the DMA’s future-proof and proportionate nature, the processes set out in Article 17 should be shortened and the extension in scope to new core platform services should be supplemented with a mechanism based on sound criteria;
  • Promote harmonisation through supervision and enforcement of the new rules at the EU level: gatekeepers operate in global ecosystems and competition concerns arising in digital markets have an important cross-border dimension. In parallel, enhanced coordination and involvement of national competent authorities remains crucial for an effective oversight.

Read the full document at the link below. 

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