Will Europe's telecom sector be left to market forces, or won't it?

The European Commission's January 21 support for stiff regulatory intervention by Ireland's telecommunications watchdog in the country's mobile telephone market is fraught with implications for telecom operators, as well as for consumers.

Ireland's mobile sector is a special case - a small country with a traditional incumbent operator, Eircom, that does not have a mobile arm, unlike most of its counterparts across the EU. Instead, the Irish mobile market is heavily dominated by two non-Irish operators: Vodafone and O2, which control 90 percent of the mobile market and rake in 97 percent of its revenues.

Not surprisingly, Irish mobile users - 85 percent of the population - pay some of Europe's highest prices.

Determined to end this, ComReg has ordered Vodafone and O2 to work out commercial agreements that will open their network infrastructures to other mobile service providers in a maximum of two years. Until now, service providers' attempts to obtain commercially viable access have failed.

The Commission solidly backs ComReg's decision. "Europe will only become more competitive if we ensure that there is effective competition in crucial markets such as the electronic communications markets", says Viviane Reding, Information Society Commissioner. "I expect that the measures proposed by the Irish regulator will...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT