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Commission consults on telecommunications market reviews

Published On:Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Commission consults on telecommunications market reviews - Isle of Man Government - Communications Commission

The Communications Commission is inviting written responses to its preliminary findings of competitive conditions in the telecommunications markets and proposals for further regulation.

The Commission has undertaken first round reviews of all telecommunications markets in the Isle of Man. The reviews identified and analysed retail telecommunications markets and their corresponding wholesale markets. The markets identified are to do with access to fixed and mobile networks, and to services provided over fixed and mobile networks. The Commission found potential competition problems in the retail fixed markets, wholesale fixed markets, and mobile markets, and propose regulatory remedies appropriate to each market. Provisions for placing additional obligations on operators found to have significant market power (SMP) are contained in licences issued under section 5 of the Telecommunications Act 1984 (of Tynwald).

In considering regulatory remedies in the fixed markets, our view is that Manx Telecom has significant market power and therefore there is a need for well-functioning wholesale markets, with products available to all, because competition in the retail markets depends on this. The remedies proposed are based on the principle that a competing licensed operator should be able to replicate Manx Telecom’s retail offers. A competing operator will be able to request wholesale products from Manx Telecom, and this offers the opportunity for competing operators to introduce much greater innovation in the retail products they can supply to businesses and consumers. Requests must be made on the basis of a serious business proposition – Manx Telecom will not be obliged to develop a series of wholesale products for which there is no likely market.

Other remedies will address how Manx Telecom, as a proposed SMP operator, is expected to conduct itself. These will require Manx Telecom not to discriminate in the services it offers, to provide adequate information about its products, to act transparently in its dealings with other operators, and to ensure that its retail operation does not benefit unduly compared with other retail operators.

In considering regulatory remedies in the mobile markets, the Commission is addressing the need for both mobile operators, Manx Telecom Limited and Cable & Wireless Isle of Man Limited (trading as Sure), to ensure that their charges for handling each other’s calls and data (termination rates) continue to decrease, and that they do not use their competitive advantage to harm operators in other retail markets*.

The Commission expects that the conclusion of this review process will be regulation which will support a well-functioning telecommunications sector which can deliver high quality services.

This consultation can be viewed online. Following the closing date, Friday 29 July 2011, all responses will be considered and the Commission will publish a summary of responses and a Decision Notice which will set out the final determinations and directions to comply with additional obligations.

Notes:

  1. The Communications Commission, a Statutory Board, regulates the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors on the Island.
  2. This consultation is for a period of 6 weeks and responses are requested in writing by close of business on Friday 29 July 2011

* For example, a customer of Operator A wishes to call a friend who has a mobile with Operator B. Operator A will charge the customer a fee (the retail charge) for this call. Operator B will charge Operator A a fee for terminating the call on its network. This termination rate therefore forms part of Operator A’s cost of providing the call to its customer.