Displaying items by tag: proposal
The US government has confirmed that the proposed merger deal between telecommunication operators T-Mobile US and Sprint will undergo a forensic examination in an effort to determine whether or not the deal represents the best interests of consumers.
UK telecommunications incumbent EE has threatened Ofcom with legal action if it doesn’t reverse its decision to set a spectrum cap on forthcoming 4G and 5G auctions. EE has been backed by rivals O2 UK as the fallout from the decision shows no signs of abating.
The UK regulator announced in July that it intended to impose a cap of 340MHz on all operators for spectrum expected to be usable by 2020, which was proposed in an effort to reduce the share held by EE, which is the country’s largest asset holder, and its parent company BT.
At the time of Ofcom’s announcement, both 02 UK and 3 UK expressed that the measures proposed fell short in their expectations, whilst EE believed the strategy was ‘unnecessary’. In addition to this, it was disclosed earlier this month that 3 were preparing to initiate a legal challenge, stressing that the regulator had failed to address competition concerns raised by the operator.
3 UK has been a long-term critic of the division of spectrum in the UK, and has vehemently opposed the current policy approach in relation to spectrum allocation. It has previously threatened legal action if Ofcom refused to address the market dominance currently enjoyed by both BT and Vodafone with its auction rules.
Analysts have now predicted that with legal challenges now likely, the 4G and 5G auctions for spectrum which were due to take place at the end of 2017, it will now be delayed until the issues raised have been resolved either through dialogue between Ofcom and the operator or through the courts. EE accepted the regulators decision on 4G, but stressed it wanted to be able to participate in the auction for the most of up-to-date 5G spectrum.
A spokesman for EE said it was reluctant to take legal action, but feels it has no other option to do so, citing that it had an obligation to protect its customers’ mobile experience. The EE representative said, “In response to 3’s action, we have made the difficult decision to challenge the proposed structure of the next auction of mobile spectrum. We need to protect our customers’ mobile experience, and help build the platform for the UK to have the highest quality 5G networks.”
Reports in The Financial Times suggest that Ofcom have declared that any legal action will put the future of mobile data at risk – and issued a warning that it could potentially have a knock-on effect on the rollout of 5G services.
O2 CEO Mark Evans declared that legal action would inevitably delay the auction, and criticized the approach that has been taken. The CEO said, “Legal action will inevitably cause delay to the auction and gives no thought to the impact and harm this will have to UK customers, companies and economic growth. This country desperately needs more mobile airwaves. It is possible to hold the 2.3GHz auction now and grant immediate access to the newly-available spectrum. Ofcom can and must act,” he added.
The European Union has increased pressure on US technology leaders Facebook, Twitter and Google in relation to its user terms. The EU has requested that they amend their user terms in order to make them compliant with current EU law - after EU lawmakers deemed the proposals submitted by the technology giants as ‘insufficient’.
In June, the European Commission (EC) and consumer protection authorities in the EU wrote directly to Facebook, Google and Twitter in which they stressed to the technology companies that they need to improve their proposed changes to user terms by the end of September.
The EU has the power to impose fines if Facebook, Twitter and Google fail to comply with the request issued. Twitter has thus far not responded to an e-mailed request for a comment from Reuters, whilst Google declined to comment on the ongoing situation. However, Facebook believes that it is compliant with current EU law, but conceded that its terms could be formatted in a way which was easier to understand and would work to meet the authorities concerns.
The concerns are concentrated mainly on procedures the social media entities propose to set up for the removal of illegal content on their websites, some analysts have claimed that the terms limit their liability and allows them unilaterally to remove content posted by users.
The US technology trio has been given a deadline of July 20th to submit new proposals, which need to be implemented by the end of September. A source close to the case has claimed that two of the companies had submitted amended proposals, while a third had asked for more time, declining to specify which one.
Facebook, Google and Twitter agreed to the proposed changes touted in March amidst concerns raised by European regulators in March of this year. One of the main issues centered on the terms which forced European consumers to seek redress in California, where the companies are all headquartered, instead of the consumer’s home address.
US technology firms have previously faced scrutiny over the way it conducts its business in Europe, ranging from issues such as privacy, to illegal or threatening content. Both the consumer protection authorities and the EC has requested that the trio provide more details on the timeframe and deadlines it will apply in relation to dealing with notifications of content deemed illegal under consumer law.
The European Commission (EC) will have to fight against national EU telecom regulators after announcing that it seeks to increase spectrum license terms to 25 years. The increased term of spectrum licenses in the EU from 10 years to 25 years could thrust the block into a head-to-head battle with EU Member States’ national regulators.
The proposal will be part of a planned reform of the European Union’s telecommunications regulations, which is set to be published in September, and could be put into practice by 2018. But in order for the proposal to become law, all member states must agree, as does the European parliament. The reason behind the proposal is that the EC believes longer licenses will create a more stable market for operators in Europe, and consequently increase their investment in the telecoms sector.
Under the proposal, spectrum licenses would last for 25 years, according to an EU document seen by Reuters. The document says the EC would have the power to set guidance on some conditions during the assignment process, including deadlines for spectrum allocation and spectrum sharing. Reports suggest that the proposal will likely be welcomed by EU telecom operators, but Reuters notes that the EC could end up clashing with member states’ national regulators, which currently handle the allocation of spectrum.
The reason EU operators might be hesitant about the proposal is because spectrum auction sales have proven to be a lucrative source of income for member states’ economies. This boost in their economies could be threatened by the EC’s plan to amend the licensing process. But that’s not the only thing to worry about. The proposal also indicates that the EC would have the ability to issue binding terms on how spectrum is allocated, which would include setting deadlines on spectrum auctions and requiring spectrum sharing agreements to be put in place, according to Reuters.
On the bright side, the EC also proposes that members of the EU would have the right to coordinate their spectrum sales. But this could lead to the issue of multi-country or region-wide licenses, the report said. There is clearly still much about the proposal that needs to be discussed by the EU and it will need to be cleared by the European Parliament before it can be enacted into law.
In addition to the spectrum proposal, the EC is also looking to tighten regulation of OTT messaging services such as WhatsApp and Skype in an update of the EU’s electronic privacy rules. France has also proposed a crackdown of end-to-end encryption messaging services which have been popularly used by terrorists.