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Regulator trims telecoms markets subject to competition controls

Fixed-line telecoms operators in the EU will no longer have to adhere to pre-defined conditions to operate in those markets, the European Commission has announced.

The Commission said the rise of alternative communication services, such as voice-over-IP (VoIP) services like Skype, the increasing use of mobile devices to make calls, and the increased competition for the provision of telecoms 'bundles', which can include calls, internet, TV and mobile services in a single package, justified withdrawing the market from 'ex ante' regulation.

'Ex ante' regulation is where individual markets are identified as containing features that inhibit competition and where some businesses in that market are placed subject to conditions on the way they can operate in an effort to promote better competition as a result.

In addition to the "retail market for access to fixed telephony", the "wholesale market for fixed call origination" will also no longer be "susceptible to ex ante regulation", the Commission said. Both markets are now "prospectively competitive", the Commission said.

European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes said: "I am delighted to announce this cut in telecoms red tape. It is the result of increased competition in telecoms markets and it takes us a step closer to a real 'Connected Continent'."

The Commission has confirmed the telecoms markets that are subject to ex ante regulation, although the precise conditions imposed in those or any other telecoms markets would be determined by national regulators.

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