The 2009 ECTA* Regulatory Scorecard, which benchmarks the telecoms regulatory framework in 18 European countries, shows Ireland performing well when it comes to its legislative environment and policy but is generally weaker on the resulting regulatory and market outcomes .
Ireland, together with the UK and Norway, scored highest for the efficiency of its regulatory authority. However, the price Ireland’s dominant player eircom charges for a competitor to access the ‘local loop’ is the highest in Europe at €431 per annum compared to €206 in the Netherlands.
Overall Ireland scored 6th position on the scorecard out of 18 EU member states, jumping from 12th position last year with the UK top of the table. The improvement is attributed to improved regulatory processes and relatively progressive policy proposals concerning next generation networks.
Commenting on the findings Ronan Lupton, Chairman of ALTO, which represents the alternative telecommunications sector in Ireland said: "While ComReg should be commended for scoring so highly it is clear that major obstacles still exist for effective competition in Ireland. Access charges to the incumbent’s network is still the highest in the EU and stifles profitable investment. We would call on the Minister to issue tighter policy directions to ComReg and ensure competitive services are available to Irish consumers."
Additional findings of the report as they relate to Ireland include:
- ComReg achieved strong performance for being able to conduct market analyses decisions in an efficient and transparent manner and have also been able to act effectively as dispute settlement bodies.
- For economic market conditions, Ireland scored the worst alongside Turkey and the Czech Republic. For voice, business services and mobile services Ireland was very weak on competition with competitive weaknesses identified in the broadband environment in particular.
- Time to port a telephone number ranges from 1 day in Ireland and Germany to more than 45 days in Poland.
General findings include:
- Countries with lowest prices tend to have higher penetration rates.
- Overall where LLU and cable providers have a higher penetration rate access speeds are higher. Where the incumbent has a higher level of penetration (and typically a higher share of the market), broadband access speeds do not increase significantly.
- Overall LLU helps to expand the broadband market and where LLU has a significant level of penetration the incumbent does not lose sales. In other words LLU is good for consumers (more people subscribe), good for competitors and is not negative for incumbents.
In launching the report ECTA urged the European Parliament and Council to use the opportunity of the Review of the Telecoms Framework to send a clear signal supporting the need for consistent and effective regulation to address dominance in the telecoms sector and to fully empower national regulators.
Innocenzo Genna, Chairman of ECTA said: "Now more than ever, politicians need to help consumers and businesses through the economic crisis by stimulating investment and innovation by all players, lowering costs and boosting business productivity. The results of the Regulatory Scorecard have repeatedly shown that relaxing rules on dominant telecoms firms is not the way to deliver any of these objectives."
ALTO, the association for Alternative Operators in the Communications Market, was established in 1998 to represent the interests of new operators entering Ireland’s telecoms market.
ALTO represents its members with regulatory authorities and policy makers such as the government, the EU, ComReg and the Competition Authority to ensure a competitive and fair business environment in which members can operate successfully. Members also benefit from effective intelligence gathering on current and future legislative and regulatory developments.
Members include: BT Ireland, Budget Telecom, Cable & Wireless, Chorus, Colt Telecom, Complete Networks, Digitweb, ESB Telecoms, Magnet Networks, NTL, Smart Telecom, TalkTalk, Verizon and 3 Play Plus.
For more information visit www.alto.ie
About the 2008 ECTA Regulatory Scorecard
The Scorecard is a comparative quantitative analysis of 18 EU Member States, and Norway and Turkey, resulting in an overall score for the effectiveness of the regulatory environment in each country.
A questionnaire was compiled following consultation with NRAs and ECTA members, and taking account of the requirements and recommendations contained in the EU Communications Framework, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reference paper on telecommunications and European Commission and European Regulators Group (ERG) Guidelines. It covers (a) the institutional framework; (b) general market access conditions; and (c) the specific competitive and regulatory conditions relating to the markets for fixed and mobile telephony, high speed business connections and broadband.
The European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) looks after the regulatory and commercial interests of new entrant telecoms operators, ISPs and suppliers of products and services to the communications industry.
ECTA works for a fair regulatory environment which allows all electronic communications providers to compete on level terms in order to multiply investment and innovation throughout an effective European internal market. The association represents the telecommunications industry to key government and regulatory bodies and maintains a forum for networking and business development.
ECTA member companies include operators, service providers and suppliers as well as National Associations of such who all contribute towards regulatory policy development and participate in our comprehensive range of networking events, conferences, seminars, briefings and executive meetings.