Commission denial on European network
By Sophie Mosca | Thursday 10 January 2013
The spokesman for Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia refuted, on 10 January, allegations that the commissioner had discussed with leading European operators the possibility of setting up a pan-European telecommunications network. He added that the commissioner “neither initiated, suggested or endorsed any plans by these operators to pool their infrastructure or share their networks. [...] As the competition authority, the Commission always assesses effects on competition on a case-by-case basis, in line with applicable rules and procedures”.
The day before,
The Financial Timesreported that major telecoms operators were opening talks on setting up a single network that would enable them to cut their infrastructure costs. The idea was allegedly discussed at a meeting they held with the competition commissioner.
The meeting of 28 November 2012 between the commissioner and representatives of the European Telecommunications Network Operators (ETNO) did not address this question, said Almunia’s spokesman, Antoine Colombani. He added that the discussion focused on general competition matters in the sector and consolidation possibilities in the framework of EU merger control, which is in Almunia’s remit.
The telecoms industry would like the Commission to be more open to transnational mergers and acquisitions in the EU whereas the executive prefers to explore “network sharing” possibilities in order to make the market more effective and boost competition.