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Telecommunications Quarterly Newsletter
The New Year heralds in changes and challenges for the Irish telecoms industry and ComReg alike. Vodafone Ireland Ltd (“Vodafone”) pushes ahead with its legal action against ComReg regarding spectrum following Three Ireland’s acquisition of Telefónica Ireland (“O2 Ireland”) – the merger was approved by the European Commission on 28 May 2014.
The possibility of new spectrum awards in the 2.6 GHz band and a number of other bands - including the 700 MHz (UHF) band - will be one of the industry's hot topics for 2015.
The National Broadband Plan is expected to take shape, following ComReg’s call for regulatory input before the Christmas holiday season – with responses due by 30 January 2015.
ComReg seems committed to pushing ahead with plans to introduce new accuracy and reliability criteria for telcos when providing Caller Location Information to the emergency services. In doing so, ComReg is expected to take into account the new Irish postcode system (to be rolled out in Spring 2015), as well as developments at EU level, to ensure a fit for purpose system for fixed, mobile and VoIP providers.
And 2015 sees enforcement continuing to be a key priority - ComReg can be expected to continue to flex its muscles and build on compliance investigations issued to operators in the latter part of 2014.
On 13 October 2014, Vodafone commenced judicial review proceedings in the Irish High Court against ComReg aimed at requiring ComReg to consider the effect of the Three/O2 merger on Three’s spectrum holding.
The maximum permitted call handling fee that can be re-couped by BT Communications Ireland Limited for the period from 12 February 2015-11 February 2016 is to be set at €3.82. A somewhat disappointing result for BT, as the October 2014 Consultation proposed a maximum fee of €4.63 – but still up from the €3.02 charge for 2014/2015.
Copies of ComReg’s Final Determinations are available from ComReg’s website:
Vodafone dispute final determination and eircom dispute final determination.
On 23 October 2014, ComReg issued Vodafone with a notice of intention to prosecute as a result of Vodafone’s failure to provide certain information requested by ComReg in its Fixed Access and Call Origination and Transit Market Analysis. Fast forward by a month, and ComReg issues a similar notice to Digiweb for failure to provide information requested by ComReg in the same market analysis.
With existing Microwave Multipoint Distribution System licences in the 2.6 GHz band due to expire in April 2016, ComReg’s consultation on the new spectrum award process can’t afford to be delayed.
ComReg signals ‘branch out’ of its review of the treatment of non-geographic numbers - 1800, 1850 and 1890. These numbers are mainly used by businesses for customer services / help-desk services where rather than the calling party bearing the cost of the call, it is the business that picks up the charges.
In 24 October 2014, ComReg issued two separate Information Notices to eircom confirming that - despite ComReg’s views that eircom was in non-compliance with its non-discrimination obligations in the Irish Access Regulations - ComReg had decided not to apply to the High Court for formal enforcement action.
On 15 October 2014, ComReg noted that in light of the submissions received on ComReg’s draft BU-Pure LRIC model, ComReg would be updating certain aspects of the model. ComReg intends to issue a final decision on the model in Spring 2015.
The 13th wave of Irish and EU aggregated data for the period 1 October 2013 to 31 March 2014 was published by ComReg on 8 December 2014.
On 11 December 2014, ComReg published its Quarterly Key Data Report for the third quarter in 2014.