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Competition in the markets in telecommunications terminals

The present Directive aims to consolidate the Directives adopted in 1988 and 1994 to open telecommunications terminal markets to competition. It includes the elimination of special or exclusive rights relating to the importation, marketing, connection, bringing into service and maintenance of telecommunications terminal equipment. This Directive also aims to improve the transparency of the characteristics of different equipment to allow users to benefit from technological progress and make informed choices as consumers.


Commission Directive 2008/63/EC of 20 June 2008 on competition in the markets in telecommunications terminal equipment.


Member States may no longer grant specialor exclusive rights relating to the importation, marketing, connection, bringing into service or maintenance of telecommunications terminal equipment.

Member States may not refuse the connection of terminal equipment * to the public telecommunications network or the bringing into service of satellite earth station equipment * in their country, unless this equipment does not satisfy the essentialrequirements of Directive 1999/5/EC or the common technical regulations adopted in pursuance of that Directive. Member States may also ask for technical qualifications from the economic operators in question.

Equipment sold on the market must adhere to essential requirement defined in Directive 1999/5/EC and, where applicable, to the common technical regulations adopted pursuant to that Directive. Manufacturers and importers must guarantee that this equipment is designed to:

  • Ensure the protection of the health and safety of the user and any other person identified in the safety objectives which appear in Directive 73/23/EEC on electrical equipment for use within certain voltage limits;
  • Meet safety requirements concerning electromagnetic compatibility which appear in Directive 89/336/EEC;
  • Allow use of the spectrum allocated to earth/space radio communication and to orbital resources in such a way as to avoid harmful interference.

The new interfaces of the public telecommunications network must be accessible to the user, who must be able to use the terminal equipment of their choice. To this end, Member States shall ensure that operators publish technical specifications for the terminal equipment and interface to which the equipment will be connected.

Member States shall inform the Commission of draft technical specifications according to the procedure laid down in Directive 1999/5/EC. All terminal equipment specifications must be formalised and published.

The bodies entrusted with monitoring the application of specifications designated by Member States must be independent from public or private undertakings offering goods and/or services in the telecommunications sector.


This Directive consolidates the provisions of Directive 88/301/EEC as amended in 1994. This Directive represented the first phase of a policy aimed at the liberalisation of telecommunications markets and which lead to the complete liberalisation of these markets on 1 January 1998.

The present Directive repeals Directive 88/301/EEC.

Key termsused in the act
  • Terminal equipment: equipment directly or indirectly connected to the interface of a public telecommunications network to send, process or receive information. Earth station equipment are included in this category.
  • Satellite earth station equipment: equipment which is capable of being used for the transmission only (‘transmit-only’), or for the transmission and reception (‘transmit/receive’), or for the reception only (‘receive-only’) of radio communication signals by means of satellites or other space-based systems.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2008/63/EC



OJ L 162 of 21.6.2008

Last updated: 31.07.2008
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