Paris, 21 December 2004
The Autorité de régulation des télécommunications publishes today the results of the consultation launched on July 9th. The latter dealt with the analysis of relevant markets of wholesale and retail fixed line telephony, and made new suggestions in view of defining markets and designating dominant operators.
By January 2005 the Authority will transmit suggestions for an advisory ruling to the French competition authority (Conseil de la concurrence).
- The Authority’s suggestions
The publication deals with :
- The designation by ART of relevant markets according to the sectorial regulation, that is to say the markets that could fall under regulatory intervention by the Authority ;
- The list of dominant opérators on each of the retail and wholesale markets.
The Authority has taken into account the numerous comments it received as well as the hearings conducted on these topics since the autumn of 2004. In the document open to comments, the Authority gave a detailed account of the following topics :
- Voice over Broadband, VoB : the Authority feels that these new services shouldn’t, in their actual form, be included in the relevant markets of fixed-line telephony as listed by the Commission. These services are on the retail broadband market and should thus incur the same regulation. This entails that these services shouldn’t be submitted to the retail price control or the carrier selection that the Authority imposes on fixed-line services offered on a low band network.
- Communications towards special services or internet access over fixed lines (for instance numbers starting with a 08, whatever the tariff menu) are excluded of the relevant retail markets of fixed line telephony in that they concern the relationship between a service provider and the end consumer.
The Authority feels indeed that on this sub-market, competition doesn’t exert pressure on prices, as these are chosen by the called party and not by the operator billing the caller. In the light of this remark, a regulation of wholesale offers enabling the provision of such retail services by different service providers should be sufficient, and a regulation of the retail market of calls to special numbers is irrelevant.
- The provision of wholesale transit services towards foreign telephony networks is equally excluded from the list of markets that could be regulated. Comments received in this respect have confirmed that to this day the market performs satisfactorily, which may call for a retreival of regulatory intervention.
- The wholesale market for national transit will not be split into two sub-markets as was initially considered by the Authority. Considering the comments received, this segmentation has been perceived as irrelevant, especially as in the years to come the actual network hierarchy with different levels of switches will be blurred.
The Authority holds the view that France Télécom holds a significant influence over the retail and wholesale fixed line relevant markets.
- Footnote : what is market analysis ?
Under the law on electronic communications, Autorité de régulation des télécommunications (ART) is responsible for conducting market analyses and for imposing, where appropriate, regulatory obligations on the telecom operators ART designates as having significant market power (SMP) on one of the 18 markets identified by the European Commission. To conduct this examination, the Autority is responsible for analysing these different markets, defining the relevant markets in terms of products and geographic area according to national circumstances, and identifying dominant operators holding significant market power, that is to say able to conduct themselves independently from their competitors and in fine from the end customer, to whom remedies must be imposed according to the competition issues on the market.
This complex procedure is submitted to different steps of consultation : call for comments on a national scale, advisory ruling by the French competition authority, notification to other national regulatory authorities and to the Commission. The Commission may veto national authority decisions as far as market definition and dominant operators identification are concerned.
Documents published to this day :
The summary of operators’ comments (pdf - 369 Ko) to the public consultation (pdf - 369 Ko) ;
Public comments :
|AFORS - Bouygues Telecom|
Zip n° 1 (zip - 3.22 Mo) (3,2 Mo)
|BT France - Cegetel - Colt - Completel- France Télécom - Free|
Zip n° 2 (zip - 2.22 Mo) (2,2 Mo)
|MCI - n9uf telecom - Prosodie - Tele2 - Telecom Italia France - UPC|
Zip n° 3 (zip - 1.09 Mo) (1,1 Mo)