European Regional Meeting on Fair
Competition and Interconnection
Clarion Royal Christiania
Oslo, Norway -
1-3 June 2004
This meeting was jointly organized by the Telecommunication
Development Bureau (BDT) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and
the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority. The meeting was opened by
Her Excellency Ms. Torild Skogsholm, Minister of Transport and Communications,
who provided an overview of the liberalization of the market in Norway,
describing its main drivers, political goals and main characteristics.
Mr. Willy Jensen, Director General of the Norwegian Post and
Telecommunications Authority, was appointed chairperson of the meeting. Mr.
Jensen's opening remarks noted that although Norway is not a European Union (EU)
member state, it follows the efforts of Brussels in the field of communications
because it values these as good regulatory initiatives. EU countries are now in
the implementation phase of the new communications regulatory package. Mr.
Jensen explained that while passing communications law is relatively simple, the
implementation phase is very demanding.
The purpose of the meeting was to bring together policy
makers, national regulatory authorities and ITU-D sector members from Central,
Eastern and Western Europe, the Baltic States and the Commonwealth of
Independent States (CIS) region to share experiences and discuss fair
competition and interconnection issues. More than 60 participants from 28
countries attended. Speakers covered all regions in Europe and all major
The first day of the meeting was devoted to fair competition.
Presentations were made by national telecommunication regulatory authorities and
operators on issues such as fair competition definition and measurement, market
analysis, significant market power (SMP), remedies, and defining the respective
roles of regulatory and competition authorities. The representative from
Poland's regulatory authority (URTIP) underlined that fair competition does not
simply mean free competition in the absence of rules, but requires a market open
to all which is regulated. Afternoon discussions were moderated by Mr. Otruba,
Secretary-General, European Regulators Group (ERG). Discussions focused on the
transposition of the new EU package, the transition phase, the notion of SMP and
dominance, transparency, and remedies. Non EU member countries also presented
their competition practices. Operators provided their views on the mobile
termination market and asymmetric remedies. During the last session, discussions
focused on cooperation, competencies, challenges and respective roles of
regulatory and competition authorities.
Interconnection issues were discussed on the second day.
Several countries presented their activities in this area highlighting the
methodologies they use and the challenges they face in area such as establishing
Reference Interconnection Offers (RIOs), pricing, interconnection and access for
converged networks, broadband regulation and mobile interconnection. In Malta,
for example, the establishment of an RIO has already led to lower termination
charges, both in the fixed and mobile networks. During the last session, some
regulators described their most pressing interconnection issues and received
feedback and advice from other participants, specifically on the basic
principles and criteria in developing interconnection rate methodology.
Discussion focused on whether to use cost-oriented charges based on-long run
average incremental costs, price caps for a limited time period, or other
solutions. Cost-orientated charges based on fully distributed costs (historical
costs) and LRIC (long run incremental costs) were recommended.
The third morning was devoted to presentations and discussions
on the challenges of unbundling the local loop. The session was held at the
premises of operator Telenor. In concluding the discussions, it was recognized
that operators and regulators have a common interest in consumer welfare and,
therefore, mutual respect of work and objective is important. The closing
ceremony was led by BDT Director Mr. Hamadoun I. Touré who recognized the role
regulators play worldwide in reforming the sector, liberalizing the market and
specifically the role that interconnection plays in ensuring fair and equitable
access to all market players in the sector. He noted that other regions are
closely watching how the EU member countries will implement the new regulatory
framework as they seek to achieve effective and fair competition.