Brussels, 28 October 2010
Digital Agenda: Commission welcomes reinforcement of dispute resolution powers of Swedish telecoms regulator; closes infringement case
The European Commission has welcomed the information that the Swedish telecoms regulator (Post- och Telestyrelsen, PTS) now has the requisite powers to solve disputes between operators over terms and conditions of interconnection agreements, in accordance with EU telecoms rules. The Commission has therefore closed the infringement proceedings it launched in January 2008. EU telecoms rules require that national regulators must be able, in the event of a dispute arising between companies which provide telecoms networks or services, to issue a binding decision to resolve the dispute, at the request of either party.
The Commission requested information from the Swedish authorities in January 2008 because it was concerned that the national telecoms laws, as interpreted by Swedish courts, could limit the powers of Sweden's national telecoms regulator in the settlement of some disputes over terms and conditions of interconnection agreements between telecoms operators. The request took the form of a letter of formal notice under EU infringement procedures (see IP/08/1343).
As a result, the Swedish Government modified its national legislation in June 2010. The new rules entered into force in August 2010. The Commission has closed the infringement case since Swedish telecoms rules are now fully in line with the EU's telecoms regulatory framework.
The Telecoms Framework Directive (2002/21/EC) is an instrumental part of the EU's regulatory framework for electronic communications, and sets out the basic regulatory background. It includes provisions that the National Regulatory Authority shall be independent and have requisite powers.
The Framework Directive (Article 20) states that, in the event of a dispute arising between companies providing telecoms networks or services, the regulator shall, at the request of either party, issue a binding decision to resolve the dispute in the shortest possible time, and in any case within four months. Moreover, the Access Directive (2002/19/EC - Article 5(4)), with regard to access and interconnection, requires that regulators be empowered to intervene, in the absence of interconnection agreements between undertakings, at the request of either party involved.
An overview of the telecoms infringement proceedings is available at:
For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/10/530.