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IP/05/875

Brussels, 7 July 2005

EU telecom rules: Commission takes action against 11 Member States to ensure effective implementation

Today, the Commission sent letters to eleven EU Member States for failing to implement properly EU rules on electronic communications, including telecommunications. The Member States involved in this further round of Treaty infringement proceedings are the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Finland. The key issues at stake include the independence of the national telecoms regulator, the requirement of number portability and of comprehensive subscriber directories, designation of “universal service” providers, and the availability of the European emergency number 112.

“The EU rules opening up national telecommunication markets must be fully and correctly implemented if European consumers and business users are to get the full benefits of competitive electronic communications services such as high-speed internet connections and affordable mobile communications”, commented Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. “Our aim is to get the job done and to complete the internal market in this key sector of the economy as soon as possible”.

Since 2002 the EU electronic communications rules have stimulated competition, innovation and investment in services such as broadband internet access. They also protect consumers’ interests where competition has not yet developed. The Commission has shown that it will use its full powers to ensure correct implementation of these rules and has already opened proceedings against ten Member States earlier this year (see IP/05/430)

This latest round of infringement proceedings tackles issues of direct relevance to users and to the effectiveness of Member States’ regulatory regimes. While most proceedings are still in the first phase (letter of formal notice), others have already reached the pre-court phase of a reasoned opinion:

Country
Issue at stake in this round
Stage
Czech Republic
Number portability is not available for subscribers of mobile services.
No comprehensive printed directory comprising all fixed and mobile subscribers.
Letter of formal notice
Letter of formal notice
France
Still does not have a comprehensive printed directory or a directory enquiry service covering all fixed and mobile subscribers.
Letter of formal notice
Greece
Still does not have a comprehensive printed directory or a directory enquiry service covering all fixed and mobile subscribers.
Letter of formal notice
Hungary
Only those undertakings capable of providing all components of universal service can participate in the designation process.
Letter of formal notice
Latvia
Number portability is not available to subscribers of mobile or fixed services.
The existing printed directory comprises information about customers of the fixed incumbent operator only.
Reasoned opinion
Letter of formal notice
Lithuania
No comprehensive printed directory or a directory enquiry service that includes all mobile subscribers.
Letter of formal notice
Malta
Still does not have a comprehensive printed directory or a directory enquiry service covering all fixed and mobile subscribers.
Letter of formal notice
Poland
Number portability – not available for either fixed or mobile subscribers.
‘112’ European emergency number – despite recent efforts, many users still cannot call the emergency services using ‘112’.
No comprehensive printed directory or a directory enquiry service covering all fixed and mobile subscribers.
Reasoned opinion
Reasoned opinion
Letter of formal notice
Slovakia
Still does not have a comprehensive printed directory or a directory enquiry service covering all fixed and mobile subscribers.
Letter of formal notice
Slovenia
Several obligations on operators to facilitate competition under the old rules have been withdrawn before the necessary market analysis is completed under the new rules.
Number portability – not available for either fixed or mobile subscribers.
Letter of formal notice
Letter of formal notice
Finland
Independence of regulation - Ministry has powers to define markets for regulation but also controls government ownership of several operators.
Finnish law automatically assigns the dominant operator as provider of universal service and excludes other operators from being considered.
Letter of formal notice
Letter of formal notice

For further details, see MEMO/05/242.


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