What is the problem? Review is needed as new products and services developed since 2007
The Recommendation on relevant markets is key to the overall functioning of the EU Regulatory Framework. A stable and pertinent list of relevant markets is vital for providing the market players with legal certainty and thus stable business planning. A list of markets also allows the National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) to focus their regulatory efforts on markets where competition is not yet effective and which are crucial for Europe's competitiveness.
The current Recommendation has been in place since 2007, and a review is needed as the characteristics of products and services as well as demand and supply structures evolve over time. It is important to establish how and to what extent have the market developments, such as take up of bundled offers, convergence and fixed to mobile substitution, impacted the markets. For example, before 2007 the use of mobile broadband was not as widespread, but with the explosion of smartphones and fast 3G and 4G networks the use of mobile broadband increased significantly.
Why is EU action required?
Article 15(1) of the Framework Directive includes an obligation for the Commission to regularly review the list of markets.
Only a common approach at the EU level concerning the list of markets susceptible to ex-ante regulation could contribute to fostering a stable and effective regulatory environment for future investments, easing the regulatory burden on operators that conduct cross-border activity, and further enhance development of a single market for telecommunications products and services. A stable list of markets helps NRAs to regulate the markets in a co-ordinate manner at the same time allowing them to diverge from the listed markets and define markets appropriate to national circumstances.
What has the Commission done so far?
The Commission has carried out from 16 October 2012 until 8 January 2013 a public consultation on the revision of the Recommendation on relevant markets, receiving 66 responses. The consultation was broad and aimed at gathering stakeholder's views on whether the current list of relevant markets should be updated, as some markets might no longer warrant ex ante regulation, and other markets should be redefined.
What will the Commission do?
An external contractor has been commissioned for a study which will be finalized before the summer break. Before the adoption which is currently planned for the first half of 2014, BEREC and COCOM will be consulted.