BEREC’s expertise contributes to the successful implementation of the Digital Markets Act
BEREC’s expertise contributes to
the successful implementation of the Digital Markets Act
In the first half of 2023, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications continued sharing its expertise in order to facilitate the achievement of the European Union’s Digital Decade objectives. In particular, BEREC contributed to the European Commission’s (EC) Gigabit connectivity package, which aims to enable the transformation of the connectivity sector in the EU, and started its work at the first meeting of the High-Level Group for the Digital Markets Act (DMA), discussing the implementation of the regulation and the findings on self-preferencing, interoperability, app stores and data-related obligations. Based on its expertise BEREC provided its Opinion on the Draft Gigabit Recommendation, its analysis of the Gigabit Infrastructure Act (GIA) proposal and its response to the consultation on the Future of the electronic communications sector. On 14 June 2023, at the public debriefing, BEREC Chair Kostas Masselos and the Working Group Co-chairs explained the documents adopted at the latest ordinary meeting.
Interoperability – a key to fair competition
Interoperability is crucial for ensuring competitive and fair digital markets across the EU. In the report on the interoperability of Number-Independent Interpersonal Communication Services (NI-ICS), BEREC puts forward a list of minimum criteria for the gatekeepers’ reference offer under the DMA, and suggests to set up a structured regulatory dialogue with the concerned parties (i.e. including providers requesting interoperability) in order to correctly define and update it. BEREC also analyses the legal provisions and conditions for interoperability and the corresponding implementation measures under both the DMA and the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC), and provides insights on the technical solutions, as well as on the interplay between the two legislative frameworks. In the future, BEREC will continue monitoring and analysing the practices of the leading digital actors and their services. BEREC is currently analysing the entry of large content and application providers into the markets for electronic communications networks and services (ECN/ECS).
Challenges of phasing out 2G and 3G
To manage fewer different generations of technologies and make networks compatible with virtualised solutions, several European telecom operators have planned to switch off their 2G and 3G networks. In its draft report, BEREC aimed to understand the impact of the phasing out of legacy systems on the electronic communications market, including system reliability and security, sustainable network management, and end-user terminal equipment developments. This report has been launched for public consultation with a submission deadline for contributions by 15 August 2023.
The role of artificial intelligence in the telecoms sector
One of the latest reports by BEREC aims to appraise the regulatory impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions in the telecommunications sector. BEREC notes that national regulatory authorities (NRAs) could play a role in the implementation of the AI Act at a national level, particularly where AI is used in the provision of the ECS/ECNs. NRAs should also be equipped to address sectoral competition concerns that might arise in the future regarding the application of AI.
Study trip to South Korea
In April 2023, a BEREC delegation went on a study trip to South Korea. During multiple meetings with Korean governmental and regulatory authorities, leading industry market players, academia, and innovation ecosystems, the delegates discussed South Korea’s telecoms market and deployment of electronic communications, digital platforms and systems, the technology advancements towards 6G, as well as regulatory aspects concerning end-user rights, network investment challenges, cybersecurity and digital regulations.
Workshop on LEO satellite fleets
In April 2023, BEREC organised a workshop on secure and reliable connectivity from low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. It aimed at developing an understanding of direct-to-device connectivity and relevant regulatory issues.
Workshop on switching and interoperability of data processing services
On 28April 2023, BEREC organized a workshop on switching and interoperability of data processing services in the context of the proposal for a Regulation on harmonised rules on fair access to and use of data (the Data Act) put forward by the European Commission. Participants exchanged views on switching and interoperability and identified the requirements to enhance competition in providing data processing services, as well as on BEREC’s role in the enforcement of the future Data Act.
Digital Decade objectives and future of the telecoms sector in Europe
In light of the constant evolution of the digital markets, BEREC contributed to the EC exploratory public consultation on the future of the electronic communications sector and its infrastructure. BEREC’s replies were based on the views and experience of its constituent NRAs.
BEREC experts also contributed to the EC’s gigabit connectivity initiatives. With a view to improving the draft Gigabit Recommendation, BEREC experts raised some concerns and provided comments and proposals for amendments to the document. Moreover, BEREC emphasised the need for a sufficient transitional period for NRAs to adjust their regulatory framework. BEREC also approved its analysis of the legislative Gigabit Infrastructure Act, welcoming the EC’s initiative as an essential building block to achieve the 2030 connectivity targets. BEREC hopes that it can be further improved based on the suggestions in its analysis.
Public documents available online
A full list of BEREC’s public documents adopted at the 55th ordinary meeting is available on the BEREC website; the presentation and the video recording of the BEREC public debriefing will be available shortly. The 56th BEREC ordinary meeting will take place on 5‑6 October 2023, in Portugal. The next BEREC public debriefing will be held on 11 October 2023, in Brussels.