Deutsche Telekom opened up to NGA competition
Ofcom please note: Deutsche Telekom has lost its legal protection against competition in its domestic high speed broadband market following changes in German telecoms law forced by the European Commission.
The changes also mean that fixed mobile broadband operators will be able to use the 2.6GHz spectrum, which was previously restricted to mobile network operators.
The commission launched an infringement proceeding against Germany in 2007 because proposed changes to the German telecoms law effectively exempted Deutsche Telekom’s fast internet access network (VDSL) from measures to promote competition in this market.
The EU Court of Justice confirmed the Commission’s position in December 2009 that the new German law tied the local telecoms regulator’s hands, and confirmed that existing and potential competitors were disadvantaged by the law.
The law, which was not enforced pending the case, was likely to result in less choice and higher prices for consumers concerning broadband internet offers, the commission said.
Germany formally changed the law in April, and the commission closed its case.
The commission said in a statement member states cannot grant exemptions from competition to telecoms operators that invest in broadband networks. Its recommendation on next generation access (NGA) networks adopted in September 2010 gave regulators clear direction on how to regulate competitive third-party access to ultra-fast fibre networks, it said.
The Commission has also closed an infringement case opened in October 2009 over Germany’s implementation of a commission decision that harmonised the 2.6GHz frequency band. The commission said the German frequency allocation plan restricted the use of the band to the “mobile service” alone. This would have stopped fixed wireless operators from building pan-European wireless broadband services.
EU rules say that this frequency band can be used for terrestrial systems that provide any telecoms service, including both mobile and fixed services. “Any underlying technology can be used to provide this service, as long as the service respects certain technical parameters and does not interfere with neighbouring networks,” the commission said.
The commission closed the case following changes to the frequency rules to allow both mobile and fixed wireless services to use the frequencies.