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IP/10/1408

Brussels, 28 October 2010

Digital Agenda: Commission requests Poland to comply with telecoms wholesale price rules

The European Commission has today decided to request Poland to amend its national legislation to ensure full compliance with EU telecoms rules. In particular, the Commission considers that Polish rules on the setting of prices for wholesale telecoms services, which alternative operators have to pay to access the network of the dominant operator, are liable to cause uncertainty and be discriminatory for telecoms companies. Regulatory certainty is essential if operators are to provide Polish citizens and businesses with competitive services at competitive prices. The request to Poland is in the form of a so-called 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures. Poland now has two months to inform the Commission of measures taken to comply with EU telecom rules. If the Polish authorities fail to do so, the Commission may refer Poland to the EU Court of Justice.

The Commission is concerned that an amendment to the Polish Telecommunications Act of 24 April 2009 has allowed the Polish telecoms regulator to set the level of prices for wholesale telecommunications services without relying on an imposed cost orientation, on a mandated cost accounting system currently in place or on the positive verification of compliance by a qualified independent body. This is not in line with EU telecoms rules and leads to a lack of transparency and regulatory uncertainty for operators.

In March 2010, the Commission requested information from Poland concerning its implementation of EU telecoms rules, especially on the setting of prices for wholesale telecoms services (IP/10/320). In reply, the Polish authorities proposed to amend the national rules. However, new legislative measures would not be adopted before May 2011.

Background

Under EU rules, if national regulators consider in their market analysis that there is no, or only limited, competition on certain telecoms markets, they must impose appropriate specific obligations on those operators who have the ability to set prices on the market because of their dominant position on the market (i.e. have "significant market power").

The remedy chosen should be proportionate and based on the nature of the problem identified. For example, price control remedies on these markets should be clear and provide legal certainty to all operators whether they charge for providing services or pay for using them. This is usually achieved when prices are justified by underlying costs (cost orientation), ideally supported by an appropriate cost accounting system and audited results.

An overview of telecoms infringement proceedings is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/implementation_enforcement/infringement/

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/10/530.


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