On 14 November 2018, the European Parliament adopted the final text of the European Electronic Communications Code. After the European Council’s final approval, the rules will come into force, although member states will have two years to transpose them into national legislation.
Luca Schiavoni, Senior Analyst at Assembly comments:
“Stakeholders from all sides of the industry are now welcoming the approval of the code, but the end of the process is just about the only reason why they are positive. Most stakeholders had labelled the final text “a missed opportunity”, and there is discontent across the board: incumbents hoped for a more thorough effort to deregulate, whereas alternative operators warned of the risk of taking competition for granted. Mobile operators also saw insufficient ambition in a code which fails to bring effective harmonisation to spectrum awards, at a time when the era of 5G is on our doorstep.
The need for national implementation means that, once again, there is a very high risk of inconsistency across the EU, which defies the long-cherished idea of a proper single market. The European Commission will be pleased that the Code has been approved on time before the end of its mandate, with elections due to happen in May 2019; however, it will take a few years to understand the real impact of the new Code. Despite the abundant gloom, it is possible to see some winners, and these are the wholesale-only operators which are starting to populate the telecoms landscape in some countries. The rules explicitly limit the regulatory obligations they will face; in turn, the growth of these operators could make the life of many regulators’ much simpler, as they bring some welcome competition in the market for fixed infrastructure.”