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Parliamentary questions
12 September 2011
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Slavi Binev (NI)

 Subject: Re-defining EU telecoms markets

Some EU Member States still differentiate between fixed and mobile retail markets. National regulatory authorities should re-define their telecoms markets in order to achieve one overall market.

The Austrian telecoms regulator RTR provided an encouraging example in 2010. RTR reviewed its broadband access market and recognised that the share of mobile broadband connections increased strongly between 2007 and 2009, accounting for approximately 70 % of new broadband lines in the first three months of 2009. Moreover, RTR noted that 75 % of residential mobile broadband customers used their connection mainly on a stand-alone basis, rather than coupled with a fixed connection. It was observed that mobile network operators were exerting effective competitive pressure on fixed-line broadband providers. As a result, the Austrian regulator included mobile and broadband connections in the retail residential market, thus effectively changing its market definition, concluding that mobile and fixed retail broadband services belonged to the same market.

Such progress can be seen in all EU Member States. UMTS and smart phone services are booming and the existence of one-way substitution from fixed to mobile retail services is still on the increase.

I consider that the progressive approach of the Austrian regulator is convincing and should be part of the next EU recommendation. This especially applies for the newer telecoms markets, such as Bulgaria and Romania. For those markets such an approach would be a particularly sensible one since they have experienced regulations in their telecoms markets many years after the ‘old’ Member States.

What is the Commission’s view on this topic?

 OJ C 146 E, 24/05/2012
Last updated: 20 September 2011Legal notice