Paris, 17 January 2005
Autorité de Régulation des Télécommunications (ART) launched today a national public consultation on its analysis of the wholesale market of fixed geographic number call termination services on the individual networks of alternative local loop operators.
This most recent market analysis completes the one made public on 9 July 2004 and again on 21 December 2004 on the retail and wholesale fixed telephony markets which, while covering wholesale call termination services on fixed networks, dealt only with call termination on France Telecom’s network.
The document is submitted for public consultation until 18 February 2005.
- What is call termination to fixed geographic numbers?
The term "call termination" designates the wholesale services provided by a local loop operator (LLO) to other operators in order to allow them to establish telephone calls to LLO’s subscribers, by connecting their network to that of the LLO. Because of the direction of the call being routed, we say that the LLO "terminates" the calls to its subscribers. "Fixed geographic numbers" designate the 10-digit numbers with the format 0Z AB PQ MC DU which are currently primarily used to identify the end users of fixed telephone service.
LLO’s have to purchase call termination services from their competitors in order to allow their users to call other users connected to the networks of these operators. Conversely, LLOs have to sell their own call termination services to their competitors so that their subscribers can receive calls from subscribers connected to other networks.
- The main measures proposed by ART
In this public consultation, ART proposes to conclude that the call termination services to the geographic numbers provided by each alternative LLO on its own network constitute a relevant market under the Post and Electronic Communications Code and the Framework Directive.
ART also proposes to designate each LLO as having significant market power (or "SMP") on the relevant market for geographic numbers call termination on its own network.
Finally, ART proposes to conclude that it is necessary and proportionate that the following obligations be imposed on each of these SMP operators :
- requirement to provide call termination services and ancillary services;
- requirement not to unfairly discriminate while providing call termination services ;
- requirement to publish the primary tariffs offered to third parties;
- requirement not to apply excessive tariffs.
- What is the market analysis process ?
The new European Directives and the electronic communications Act of 9 July 2004 requires Autorité de Régulation des Télécommunications (ART) to carry out reviews of regulations imposed on the 18 markets identified by the European Commission as being potentially subject to ex ante regulation.
Across this review, ART mustidentify and delimitate the markets which are the ones relevant in terms of products and geographic extent in the circumstances of France .ART is also required to analyse each market in order to assess whether any operator have significant market power ("SMP"). Under the Framework Directive, an operator shall be deemed to have SMP if it enjoys a position equivalent to dominance , that is to say a position of economic strength affording it the power to behave to an appreciable extent independently of competitors, customers and ultimately consumers. When operators have SMP on a market, ART therefore needs to considers potential remedies to address SMP in this market. These remedies must be adequate and proportionate to the competition problems which have been identified.
This complex procedure is subject to a series of successive consultation stages : national public consultation, submission for the opinion of the national competition authority (Conseil de la Concurrence) and, finally, submission to the national regulatory authorities of the other European countries and to the European Commission. Ultimately, the European Commission has the possibility to put its veto on the decisions taken by national regulatory authorities as concerns the delimitation of the relevant markets and the SMP determination.
Responses to the call for comments should be sent to the following address: fixe(@)art-telecom.fr
The text of the public consultation is available for downloading (pdf - 322 Ko) (pdf)