The GSMA has come out in opposition to the UK government’s national roaming proposals. In a statement, issued mere weeks after the news first broke, the mobile industry association’s Chief Regulatory Officer Tom Phillips said the organisation believes compulsory network sharing would be damaging to the industry and service quality.
Even operators privately admit they need to be regulated. While the laissez faire, free market utopia to which many of us aspire should preclude such interventions, in many cases a perfect market is impossible and it appears to be human nature to exploit oligopolies as much as possible. Hence, some kind of independent body is required to protect the consumer.
French cable group Altice has completed its acquisition of mobile operator SFR from Vivendi for €13.66 billion. Meanwhile ARCEP, the French telecoms regulator has given the go-ahead for Altice to also acquire Virgin Mobile France.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that T-Mobile US has agreed to be more transparent over speeds its customers experience, particularly when it imposes speed restrictions and reductions.
A leaked report has fuelled speculation that the European Commission intends to unbundle Google in response to the internet giant’s growing share in multiple markets. According to the FT, a draft motion from the Commission states that “unbundling search engines from other commercial services” is being investigated as a means of curtailing the company’s growing dominance.
The UK Competitive Telecommunications Association (UKCTA) has published a series of reports calling the country’s regulator Ofcom to review the communications market. It claimed there is confusion over the role of BT Openreach, BT’s network division, and businesses feel Openreach is a restrictive force in terms of choice in the market.
The four leading Swiss service providers, as well as the country’s cable operator association Swisscable, have joined forces to formulate an official code of conduct on net neutrality. Swisscom, Sunrise, UPC Cablecom and Orange, as well as Swisscable, are working to keep the internet open in Switzerland, according to an official statement from Swisscom.
Verizon has aimed the threat of litigation against the FCC if it fails to correctly position its next move in the perennial debate of net neutrality. On its policy blog page, Randal Milch, Verizon’s General Counsel said: “whatever the FCC decides about new Net Neutrality rules, the whole thing is headed for another round in court.”
The European Commission has confirmed that two fixed line markets will no longer be subject to regulation in Europe. The retail market for access to fixed telephony, and the wholesale market for fixed call origination will no longer be affected by price caps.
The European Commission has announced that an investigation into content delivery antitrust has failed to find evidence of wrong-doing by internet service providers. Inspections were carried out after concerns were raised about the potential abuse of dominant market positions and violation of EU antitrust regulations.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has finally released much-awaited guidelines on the sharing of radio frequencies in all bands, allowing carriers to make optimal use of spectrum.
US watchdog the Federal Trade Commission slammed T-Mobile USA on Tuesday, alleging that the carrier made “hundreds of millions of dollars” from bogus premium SMS charges never authorised by subscribers.
The director general of the GSMA, Anne Bouverot, has sent an open letter to EC Commissioner Neelie Kroes calling for policy reform that will encourage investment in Europe’s telecoms sector. Bouverot secured endorsements from the CEOs of ten European operators with a combined European mobile customer base of almost three quarters of a billion subscriptions, according to data from Informa’s World Cellular Investors service.
The most serious challenge mobile operators face over the next five years is the competitive threat from OTT players, according to overall respondents to the Telecoms.com Intelligence Industry Survey 2014. Almost 50 per cent of respondents rating the OTT threat a six or seven on a one-to-seven scale of severity. But the operator repondents themselves when broken out, however, judged regulatory pressure on pricing to be the biggest threat, with almost 60 per cent of operator respondents giving this a high rating for severity.
The use of auctions for spectrum renewal seems pointless and likely only to create uncertainty and risk for operators, says Graham Friend, managing director at Coleago Consulting. New entrants know they are likely to be outbid by incumbents and the uncertainty generated dampens the desire of those incumbents to invest and innovate, which is not good at a time when governments want to see a rapid and extensive roll-out of LTE.
A greenfield LTE operator that has launched this year in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda would “happily prioritise Skype traffic” at the expense of standards-based voice services if that is what the market demanded, its chief operating officer has told Telecoms.com.
Industry consultants have attacked the recent Austrian LTE spectrum auction process, claiming that the outcome took too much money out of the market and threatens competition in the Austrian mobile sector. The fact that incumbent Telekom Austria was able to acquire half of all the spectrum made available could be particularly detrimental.
Canada’s telecoms regulator the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued a wireless code for operators in a bid to make it easier for subscribers to understand their contracts and their basic rights.
Starting this week, European operators are looking at the development of a coherent strategy to prepare for the arrival of roaming MVNOs in 2014. From May 14 to June 3, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) is holding a public consultation on draft guidelines in relation to regulated retail roaming services.
US operator T-Mobile has revamped its retail offering, abolishing handset subsidies for premium devices in favour of an interest-free scheme that separates the cost of the device from the cost of network service. Annual service contracts have also been withdrawn. The pricing overhaul is expected to be one of a number of announcements made by T-Mobile at a press event later on Tuesday, although the changes have already been made on the operator’s online retail portal.