International Institute of Communications

Shaping the policy agenda: TELECOMMUNICATIONS • MEDIA • TECHNOLOGY
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Competition Policy

Benelux competition authorities issue joint memo on digital challenges

A joint memorandum of the Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg (Benelux) competition authorities has highlighted challenges faced by competition authorities in a digital world. They say they cannot address all the challenges faced by competition authorities and focus on merger control, the need for guidance in fast moving digital markets, and the debate on an ex ante instrument providing for binding commitments without the establishment of an infringement.

  • Monday, 21 October 2019

Australia acts on mobile number fraud Australia acts on mobile number fraud

Australia has announced telco regulations that prevent fraudsters from hijacking mobile numbers to access personal and financial information, and reduce phone scams, reports ZDNet. “Under the new industry wide measures, telcos will be required to introduce two-factor authentication, such as inputting a code on a website or responding to a text message, before mobile numbers can be transferred from one provider to another.

  • Monday, 21 October 2019

Facebook highlights data portability issues

Facebook has called on regulators and other experts to answer key questions to help it forge its strategy around protecting user privacy while meeting demand for increased data portability, notes Mobile World Live.

  • Monday, 16 September 2019

 Greece gets broadband help from Europe Greece gets broadband help from Europe

The European Commission has approved, under EU state aid rules, €300 million of public support for Greece's ultrafast broadband infrastructure scheme, which aims to provide broadband services to customers in areas with insufficient connectivity.

  • Monday, 16 September 2019

Germany considers competition framework for the digital economy

A commission of experts on “competition law 4.0”, set up by Germany’s Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, and chaired by Martin Schallbruch, Heike Schweitzer and Achim Wambach, has presented its recommendations for a new competition framework for the digital economy to the minister.

  • Monday, 16 September 2019

Mission to Georgia helped build its regulatory framework

A 19 month project with over 190 expert missions to Georgia comprising Lithuanian, German and Polish experts has helped define secondary legislation and guidelines on communications in line with EU standards for the country.

  • Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Mauritania is facing telecoms challenges

Mauritania's small population and low economic output has limited the country’s ability to develop sustained growth, notes Developing Telecoms, citing a report by Research & Markets. “There are also practical challenges relating to transparency and tax burdens which have hindered foreign investment.

  • Wednesday, 17 July 2019

French agencies examine the connected speaker market

Hadopi, the France’s copyright agency, and Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA), France’s media regulator, have conducted a joint study on the connected speaker market, which is an issue for both institutions. These issues are also of interest to other regulatory authorities, including telecoms regulator, ARCEP, the competition authority, and CNIL, the data privacy agency, which contributed to the work.

  • Monday, 17 June 2019

Cook Islands issues competition policy consultation

The Cook Islands Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) has released a draft telecoms market competition policy for consultation. The Cook Islands has been serviced by a single operator, partly-owned by the government, under a legislated monopoly since 1989, with limited independent oversight.

  • Monday, 17 June 2019

US mobile operator merger could increase prices US mobile operator merger could increase prices

Despite a lengthy process that started way back in the spring of 2018, US mobile operators Sprint and T-Mobile have agreed to extend the deadline for their proposed merger another 2 months until 29 June, reports Gizmodo.

  • Wednesday, 15 May 2019

US competition agency reports on technology task force

The US Federal Trade Commission has testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce about its efforts to protect consumers and promote competition.

  • Wednesday, 15 May 2019

GSMA issues report on 5G spectrum auction concerns GSMA issues report on 5G spectrum auction concerns

The GSMA has raised concerns about 5G spectrum auction design “artificially inflating prices, or inefficiently distributing already scarce spectrum resources, which risk harming consumers”. “Auctions can and do fail when poorly designed,” said Brett Tarnutzer, the GSMA’s head of spectrum.

  • Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Copper switch off report issued by European fibre body

The FTTH Council Europe has released a new study on copper switch-off and transition to fibre. It analyses the different stages of copper switch-off in 10 European Union member states and identifies benefits as well as enablers, incentives, challenges and barriers to switching from copper to fibre networks.

  • Monday, 18 March 2019

Bahrain’s regulator rules on mobile competition

Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has published a final determination in its review of competition in the wholesale mobile termination market, concluding that messaging termination services on mobile operators should no longer be subject to ex-ante regulation, while the wholesale market for call termination services remains under ex-ante regulation by TRA.

  • Tuesday, 19 February 2019

EU reaches deal on rules for online trading

The EU says it has reached a political deal on the first-ever rules aimed at creating “a fair, transparent and predictable business environment for businesses and traders when using online platforms”.

  • Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Switzerland’s regulator reviews prices

Responding to requests from Sunrise and Salt, the Switzerland’s Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) has reviewed the prices charged for the regulated telecoms services offered by the incumbent, Swisscom.

  • Tuesday, 19 February 2019

UK expert panel convenes on competition in the digital economy

The UK Chancellor has requested an independent review and consultation from an expert panel on the state of competition in the digital economy, to consider what the opportunities and challenges are for policy, both in the UK and internationally.

  • Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Bidders announced for US 5G mmWave auction Bidders announced for US 5G mmWave auction

It appears that three of the nation’s largest cable companies are not planning to bid on millimetre-wave spectrum licences in the FCC’s 5g spectrum auction, which starts on 14 November, reports Fierce Wireless.

  • Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Data traffic in India cools scope of OTT consultation

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has decided to reduce the scope of consultation for the proposed regulatory framework for over the top (OTT) platforms such as WhatsApp and Skype, according to a report by Live Mint.

  • Tuesday, 25 September 2018

New Zealand published issue paper on mobile market

New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has released an issues paper calling for submissions on its initial assessment of the mobile market that is being carried out under Section 9A of the Telecommunications Act 2001.

  • Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Deutsche Telekom makes demands about 5G auction Deutsche Telekom makes demands about 5G auction

Deutsche Telekom has outlined its demands for Germany’s upcoming 5G spectrum auction, rejecting calls for conditions to encourage a new operator or plans for regional licences, notes Telecompaper.

  • Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Lawsuits take aim at FCC and net neutrality; FCC fires back Lawsuits take aim at FCC and net neutrality; FCC fires back

Mozilla, the developer of the Firefox browser, has filed a legal brief against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), accusing the telecoms regulator of abdicating its role, ignoring public comments and failing to understand how the internet actually works, notes the Register.

  • Monday, 24 September 2018

Call for OTT TV regulation in Africa Call for OTT TV regulation in Africa

Spooked by Netflix’s growing popularity among African viewers, the continent’s largest television operator wants the disruptor to be regulated, reports Quartz Africa. “This call for regulation is a common call from established monopolies who find their grip on a local market challenged by a tech disruptor, and MultiChoice is no different.

  • Monday, 23 July 2018

Romania consults on public access tariffs for operators Romania consults on public access tariffs for operators

Romania's telecoms authority, Ancom, has opened a consultation on a draft decision for setting the maximum tariffs to be charged on operators exercising the right of access to state-owned public property, notes Telecompaper.

  • Monday, 23 July 2018

Germany’s regulator wants platforms on a level playing field Germany’s regulator wants platforms on a level playing field

Germany’s top telecoms regulator has set its sights on US technology groups such as Google and Facebook, insisting that providers of messaging and email services should be regulated just like ordinary telecoms companies, reports the Financial Times.

  • Monday, 23 July 2018

Competition law ‘not fit for purpose’ Competition law ‘not fit for purpose’

A British thinktank has issued proposals for a radical overhaul of regulation of the technology sector, which it argues is “unfit for purpose, incentivises bad behaviour and has failed to address ethical questions about big data and its use”.

  • Monday, 23 July 2018

BEREC finds 4-to-3 mobile mergers may push prices up BEREC finds 4-to-3 mobile mergers may push prices up

Mergers reducing the number of mobile operators from four to three may push prices for end-users higher in the short to medium term, even with remedies such as MVNO access, according to a study published by EU regulator BEREC.

  • Monday, 25 June 2018

India and Europe regulators sign up to net neutrality

RS Sharma, chair of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and Johannes Gungl, chair of European regulators body, BEREC, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which they advocate for effective electronic communications regulation.

  • Monday, 25 June 2018

Ofcom publishes on wholesale broadband, and universal service

UK regulator, Ofcom, has issued two documents of wider interest. The first is an assessment of competition in wholesale broadband access markets, under which services in these markets are bought by telecoms providers to supply retail broadband services to residential and business consumers.

  • Monday, 25 June 2018

Chaos of Mother’s Day sale investigated by Taiwan’s regulator Chaos of Mother’s Day sale investigated by Taiwan’s regulator

Japan Communications says it has received Japan’s first regulatory certification under both the Radio Law and Telecommunications Business Law for an unlicensed LTE (u-LTE) base station – and JCI chairman Frank Seiji Sanda says, “u-LTE is the first step in the obsolescence of legacy mobile operators.”

  • Monday, 21 May 2018

FCC aims to reform educational band spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking to update the framework for licensing educational broadband service (EBS) spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band.

  • Monday, 21 May 2018

Australia’s ACCC issues final market report Australia’s ACCC issues final market report

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published the final report of its communications sector market study, which includes 28 recommendations and actions on competition and consumer issues.

  • Thursday, 26 April 2018

States gang up on FCC on net neutrality

California is among the US states that could reintroduce net neutrality following the FCC’s overturning of the Open Internet Order.

  • Thursday, 26 April 2018

UK’s lays out universal service law UK’s lays out universal service law

The design of the UK's new universal service obligation (USO) for broadband has been specified in law, reports Out-Law.com. The UK government said the new USO would “ensure high speed broadband access for the whole of the UK by 2020”.

  • Thursday, 26 April 2018

South Africa consults on ICT ownership South Africa consults on ICT ownership

South Africa’s regulator, ICASA is to hold public hearings to discuss “the review and development of the authority position on historically disadvantaged persons and broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE)”, notes ITWeb.

  • Thursday, 26 April 2018

Gambling ad crackdown during primetime sport

Gambling advertisements will be banned during the broadcast of live sports between 5am and 8:30pm on commercial free-to-air TV, radio and pay TV, ACMA has announced.

  • Thursday, 22 March 2018

Finland’s regulator imposes price caps to boost broadband competition

High wholesale prices impede competition in the broadband market, so the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) is imposing price caps on fibre local loops provided by the three market leaders in Finland, and regulation on copper local loops will be scaled down.

  • Thursday, 22 March 2018

Brazil telecoms modernisation law signed by president Brazil telecoms modernisation law signed by president

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has signed a law modernising Brazil’s telecoms regulations in a move long expected by the industry to allow new investment opportunities and help salvage bankrupt carrier Oi, reports Reuters.

  • Monday, 21 October 2019

Canada sets up accessibility council; lowers wholesale broadband rates

The organisations responsible for enforcing the Accessible Canada Act have announced the establishment of the Council of Federal Accessibility Agencies. The Accessible Canada Act, which became law in June 2019, requires member organisations of the council to work collaboratively to refer federal accessibility complaints to the right organisation and to foster complementary policies and practices.

  • Monday, 16 September 2019

 US states embark on competition investigations of Google and Facebook US states embark on competition investigations of Google and Facebook

Attorneys generals for 50 US states and territories have announced an antitrust investigation of Google, embarking on a wide-ranging review of a tech giant that Democrats and Republicans said may threaten competition, consumers and the continued growth of the web, reports the Washington Post.

  • Monday, 16 September 2019

France’s regulators draw up data-driven memo; Arcep reports on future networks

Several French regulators – the competition authority, AMF, Arafer, Arcep, CNIL, CRE and CSA –  have held a meeting to draw up a memorandum on data-driven regulation, which they say “creates the ability to make stakeholders more accountable, increases the regulator’s capacity for analysis and makes more information available to users and civil society”.

  • Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Germany clears 700 MHz band for operators Germany clears 700 MHz band for operators

Germany has completed the clearance of the 700 MHz band, which had previously been used by broadcasters, with operators now free to use the bandwidth to improve coverage, reports Mobile World Live.

  • Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Mission to Georgia helped build its regulatory framework Mission to Georgia helped build its regulatory framework

A 19 month project with over 190 expert missions to Georgia comprising Lithuanian, German and Polish experts has helped define secondary legislation and guidelines on communications in line with EU standards for the country.

  • Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Ethiopia adopts telecoms proclamation

The Communications Service Proclamation has been adopted by the Ethiopian Parliament and introduces a number of major changes into the Ethiopian telecoms sector. Commentary from DLA Piper's telecoms team notes that the most important aspect of the proclamation is that it has liberalised the sector, which has been monopolised by the government for many decades.

  • Tuesday, 16 July 2019

US committee investigates the dominance of tech giants

The US House Judiciary Committee has launched an investigation into the market dominance of Silicon Valley’s biggest names, starting with a look at the impact of the tech giants’ platforms on news content, the media and the spread of misinformation online, reports Courthouse News.

  • Monday, 17 June 2019

Europe’s competition commissioner warns on digital monopolies Europe’s competition commissioner warns on digital monopolies

The EU should be “ready to act” should social values such as “privacy, freedom and fairness” be under threat from expanding digital monopolies, the bloc’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, has said, reports EurActiv.

  • Monday, 17 June 2019

European regulation centre publishes platform economy report

The Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE) has published “Market definition and market power in the platform economy”, which provides guidance on how to define markets and on how to assess market power when dealing with two-sided platforms.

  • Wednesday, 15 May 2019

ITU defines OTT and issues policy and regulatory framework recommendation

The ITU has approved a recommendation addressing the relationship between network operators and providers of over the top (OTT) applications. It says recommendation ITU-T D.262 “provides parameters for the analysis of the new economic dynamics of the ICT ecosystem and how policy and regulatory frameworks could promote competition, consumer protection, consumer benefits, dynamic innovation, sustainable investment and infrastructure development, accessibility and affordability in relation to the global growth of OTTs”.

  • Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Australian authority opposes merger on both mobile and broadband grounds Australian authority opposes merger on both mobile and broadband grounds

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has decided to oppose the proposed merger between TPG Telecom and Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA). The ACCC has concluded that it is likely to substantially lessen competition in the supply of mobile services because the merger would preclude TPG entering as the fourth mobile network operator in Australia.

  • Wednesday, 15 May 2019

“Contentious” South African communications bill withdrawn “Contentious” South African communications bill withdrawn

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, South Africa’s communications minister, has withdrawn the contentious Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, reports TechCentral. “The draft legislation, which creates the framework for a wholesale open-access network has drawn severe criticism from Vodacom, MTN and others over, among other things, its proposal to force network operators to provide wholesale access to their infrastructure on a cost-orientated and open-access basis...

  • Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Streaming video market puts pressure on traditional broadcasters

There will be more than 777 million global streaming video on demand (SVOD) subscriptions by 2023, more than double from 2017, according to Ooyala’s latest State of the Broadcast Industry 2019 report, which also found that the momentum only stands to increase. 

  • Wednesday, 23 January 2019

US senators ask operators about net neutrality US senators ask operators about net neutrality

US politicians have pressed AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile US and Verizon for answers about their network prioritisation policies, after a study found the operators slowed speeds for certain data services but not others, reports Mobile World Live.

  • Tuesday, 20 November 2018

ITU quantifies impact of digitisation on economies

The ITU has published a study, “The economic contribution of broadband, digitization and ICT regulation” which finds that an increase in both fixed and mobile broadband penetration has a positive impact on the economy.

  • Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Protectionism in the digital world – report

Countries which have historically driven protectionist policies through tariff and other trade barriers are now extending their agenda into the digital world, according to research by law firm Gowling WLG.

  • Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Europe’s telecoms execs call for a new industrial policy

Europe’s telecoms CEOs have issued their latest vision for Europe’s next policy agenda, via the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO), highlighting that with 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) at the doorstep, “the network and services landscape is about to be revolutionised.

  • Monday, 22 October 2018

Policy recommendations for platform liability for illegal material

A report from the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE), “Liability of online hosting platforms: should exceptionalism end?”, explores whether online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube benefit from a “liability free pass”.

  • Tuesday, 25 September 2018

South Africa plans spectrum liberalisation

The South African government is poised to liberalise radio frequency spectrum by allowing the free trading of spectrum assignments, subject to regulatory conditions, reports TechCentral.

  • Tuesday, 25 September 2018

A single broadband provider can be competitive – US ruling

A US appeals court has upheld a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling that broadband markets can be competitive even when there is only one internet provider. The FCC can “rationally choose which evidence to believe among conflicting evidence”,  the court ruling said.

  • Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Germany plans to strengthen competition powers Germany plans to strengthen competition powers

Germany, seeking to rein in internet giants like Google and Facebook, plans to bolster the powers of its competition watchdog to prevent such companies from becoming monopolies even before they achieve scale, reports Reuters.

  • Monday, 24 September 2018

UK ISPs back new rules for internet platforms UK ISPs back new rules for internet platforms

Three major internet service providers in the UK have said they would back a regulator to oversee rules for web giants – but warned lawmakers not to forget smaller firms or the bigger picture, reports the Register.

  • Monday, 23 July 2018

India combats fraudulent and intrusive calls India combats fraudulent and intrusive calls

India’s regulator, TRAI, has released the Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference regulation, which is aimed at cutting down the number of fraudulent and intrusive calls across the country, reports Firstpost.

  • Monday, 23 July 2018

India goes for strong net neutrality rules India goes for strong net neutrality rules

Eight months after India’s telecoms regulator came out swinging heavily in favour of the principle of net neutrality, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has finally agreed to adopt the same, reports the Wire.

  • Monday, 23 July 2018

ACCC Chairman speaks at IIC telecoms forum ACCC Chairman speaks at IIC telecoms forum

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published the final report of its communications sector market study, which includes 28 recommendations and actions on competition and consumer issues.

  • Monday, 16 July 2018

GSMA calls European code a ‘political compromise’ GSMA calls European code a ‘political compromise’

Latest comment on agreement on the European Electronic Communications Code come from mobile industry body, the GSMA, which considers it “is a political compromise that fails to confront long term challenges for the European telecoms sector and could hinder deployment of 5G networks in Europe, weakening the region’s competitiveness and harming European citizens.”

  • Monday, 25 June 2018

Zimbabwe cuts mobile charges ahead of election Zimbabwe cuts mobile charges ahead of election

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has reduced local mobile data and internet charges after concluding a cost modelling exercise for telecommunication network services in the country covering mobile, fixed and internet access networks, reports AllAfrica.

  • Monday, 25 June 2018

Critics say Europe’s e-privacy regulation will cut revenues Critics say Europe’s e-privacy regulation will cut revenues

On the heels of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Europe is gearing up for its next big privacy push, this time taking aim at data collection within messaging apps. But critics contend the proposed law goes too far, potentially stifling innovation and hurting profits, according to an article in OWI Insight.

  • Monday, 25 June 2018

Are Australian consumers paying for Google’s data collection? Are Australian consumers paying for Google’s data collection?

Google is under investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the country’s Privacy Commissioner following claims that it collects data from millions of Android smartphone users, who unwittingly pay their telecoms service providers for gigabytes consumed by the activity, reports Reuters.

  • Monday, 21 May 2018

New telecoms law in Democratic Republic of Congo New telecoms law in Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) National Assembly has adopted a new Telecommunications Act to update the nation’s aging legal framework for the sector, bring the rules in line with the country’s needs and to align with other relevant legislation, notes TeleGeography.

  • Monday, 21 May 2018

US Senate sends warning shot over net neutrality repeal US Senate sends warning shot over net neutrality repeal

The US Senate has voted 52-47 to disapprove the FCC’s recent order replacing 2015’s net neutrality rules, “a pleasant surprise for internet advocates and consumers throughout the country”, reports TechCrunch.

  • Monday, 21 May 2018

Cross-border data flows examined in Asian study

A paper published by Brookings looks at the importance of cross-border data flows, taking Asia as a model, and why they need regulating to stimulate the digital economy.

  • Thursday, 26 April 2018

Commission goes after Apple’s proposed music buy-up Commission goes after Apple’s proposed music buy-up

The European Commission has launched an investigation to assess Apple’s proposed acquisition of music app Shazam, expressing concerns the deal could reduce choice for users of music streaming services, reports Mobile World Live.

  • Thursday, 26 April 2018

Taiwan’s regulator warns on impact of price war Taiwan’s regulator warns on impact of price war

The telecoms regulator in Taiwan has warned that sparking a price war could impair how much operators are willing to invest in new services and networks, including 5G, reports Telecoms Tech.

  • Thursday, 26 April 2018

Australia seeks to modernise copyright laws

The Australian Government has announced a review of the Australian Copyright Act 1968 following on from the Productivity Commission’s review and report on Australia’s Intellectual Property Arrangements.

  • Thursday, 22 March 2018

Australia kicks off inquiry into wholesale data services

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has started a public inquiry to determine whether declaration of the domestic transmission capacity service (DTCS) remains appropriate in light of changes to the market, including the growth of commercial alternatives available to service providers, new National Broadband Network (NBN) products for business customers, and industry consolidation.

  • Thursday, 22 March 2018

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