Brussels, 30 April 2003
Conditional clearance for Toll Collect joint venture between Daimler Chrysler and Deutsche Telekom
The European Commission has authorised the acquisition of joint control by DaimlerChrysler AG and Deutsche Telekom AG of the newly created joint venture Toll Collect GmbH. Toll Collect will establish and operate a system for the collection of road toll from heavy trucks in Germany which, at the same time, can be used as a platform to provide telematics services. The Commission feared that the transaction would lead to a dominant position of DaimlerChrysler on the emerging market for telematics systems in Germany. DaimlerChrysler and Deutsche Telekom successfully resolved these concerns by offering commitments.
After carrying out an in-depth investigation, the Commission found that the formation of the joint venture would lead to a dominant position of DaimlerChrysler on the emerging market for telematics systems for transport and logistics businesses in Germany. Rapid growth is expected for this market: According to a recent study, the turnover in the segment for telematics systems for transport and logistics companies in Europe will increase from € 160 million in 2001 to around € 4.7 billion in 2009.
The onboard units which will be installed in the trucks for the purpose of the toll collection can also be used to offer value-added services for telematics applications. The Toll Collect onboard units, incorporating a GPS(1) receiver and a GSM communication module, will be the basis to offer, without any further technical adaptations being necessary, (1) localisation services and (2) text services, whereby written, pre-defined information can be exchanged between the haulage companies and the trucks.
As part of the road toll collection scheme to be introduced in Germany, onboard units will be available free of charge to truck owners. This makes it highly likely that truck fleet owners will wish to use this box for being supplied with value-added services and will not install a second, costly telematics unit in each truck. Therefore, and taking account of the plan to distribute several hundred thousands of Toll Collect onboard units in the next year, the Commission found that it is very likely that the Toll Collect infrastructure would become the predominant platform for the provision of telematics services in Germany.
By co-controlling Toll Collect, DaimlerChrysler, the biggest German truck manufacturer and one of the main suppliers of telematics systems for transport and logistics undertakings, could control the access of third party telematics services providers to the Toll Collect onboard units. The proprietary character of the toll collect infrastructure would lead to a gatekeeper function of DaimlerChrysler and Toll Collect for the provision of telematics services on this platform and would enable DaimlerChrysler to control the conditions of competition in this market for third party competitors. At the same time, the emergence of a predominant standard for onboard units would cause the disappearance of suppliers of telematics systems currently on the market.
The Commission's concerns did not relate to the toll collection itself and the merger decision does not predetermine the compatibility of the German regime of collecting toll form heavy trucks with Community law.
Conditions for clearance
In response to the Commission's competition concerns, the parties offered the following commitments:
Formation of an independent Telematics Gateway company, not controlled by the parties and operating a central interface through which telematics services can be fed into the Toll Collect system and can be provided to all trucks equipped with a Toll Collect onboard unit;
Development of a GPS interface for the Toll Collect onboard unit in order to connect it with third party peripherals;
The development of a toll collection module to be integrated into third party telematics devices.
The provision of telematics services on the on-board units via the Telematics Gateway is subject to the Commission's approval. The Commission's approval will only be granted once the second and the third element of the commitments package are in place. This will lead to a moratorium for the provision of telematics services on the Toll Collect infrastructure: These services will only be provided once the interface for third peripherals and the toll collection module for third party telematics devices have been developed.
Central point for the remedies package is this moratorium. It guarantees that Daimler Chrysler will not provide telematics services using the infrastructure of the Toll Collect system until a level playing field has been established for all providers of telematics systems.
Before telematics services can be provided using the Toll Collect infrastructure, the parties will, in close co-operation with interested third party telematics devices producers, develop a toll module for thirdparty equipment which will enable third parties to manufacture their own telematics equipment with a toll function. This solution should in particular be taken up by truck producers and equipment manufacturers and will enable them to linefit telematics devices including a toll collection function for new trucks. The parties will also open the Toll Collect onboard unit so as to enable third-party suppliers of value added services to make use of the GPS functionality of the onboard units. Both the development of the toll collection module and the opening of the onboard unit with an interface will largely limit the chances of Toll Collect becoming a dominant platform for the provision of telematics services and acquiring a gatekeeper function.
Telematics services on the Toll Collect onboard units themselves can, once the other solutions are in place, be offered via a central telematics gateway operated by an independent Telematics Gateway company. This Telematics Gateway company will be neutralised as it will be open to other shareholders and not be controlled by the parties. All providers of telematics services will obtain non-discriminatory access to the telematics gateway irrespective of whether or not they are shareholders of the gateway company. Thereby a level playing field is created for all those telematics services providers who wish to use the Toll Collect platform.
While removing the Commission's competition concerns and creating a level playing field for all competitors, the commitments will form a basis for the development of the emerging market for telematics systems and will, in particular, respond to the interests of the consumers. The permanent blocking of the provision of telematics services on the Toll Collect infrastructure, a proposal raised by third parties, would, however, have led to considerable disadvantages for consumers of telematics services, the truck-fleet owners. As a consequence of this proposal, truck owners would have been forced to buy and install a second onboard unit in their trucks for telematics services even if they were satisfied with the limited telematics services which may be offered via the Toll Collect onboard unit.
As of summer 2003, Germany will charge a distance-based road toll for all trucks with a maximum weight of 12 tonnes or more for the use of German motorways. The establishment and operation of a system for collecting the toll on German motorways on behalf of the Federal Government was subject to a public tender offer by the Federal Republic of Germany. The tender was awarded to a consortium formed by DaimlerChrysler Services and Deutsche Telekom, and the French motorway operator Cofiroute S.A.
(1) Global Positioning System.