Possible misuse of asymmetric power and connectivity challenges in focus of BEREC – GSMA Annual Roundtable

28 June 2021

The promotion of full connectivity, sustainable and open digital markets, and end–user empowerment were the main topics discussed during the BEREC-GSMA Roundtable on 28 June 2021, taking place during the annual Mobile World Congress organized by the GSMA. At the roundtable, BEREC Chair Michel Van Bellinghen, incoming BEREC Chair Annemarie Sipkes and outgoing Chair Dan Sjöblom represented the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications. The Board of Regulators welcomed the opportunity to discuss relevant regulatory issues with its stakeholders in the backdrop of the Mobile World Congress.

Connectivity challenges

One of BEREC's strategic priorities is the promotion of full connectivity throughout Europe. BEREC highly supports this process, which will boost investment in very high-capacity broadband connectivity infrastructure, including 5G, on a European-wide level. During the session dedicated to the connectivity challenges, Dan Sjöblom said that BEREC prioritises work that improves the general conditions for the expansion and take-up of secure, competitive and reliable high-capacity networks, both fixed and wireless, across Europe while ensuring a smooth transition from legacy infrastructures.

Misuse of asymmetric power in the context of DSA/DMA

During the discussion round on how to address the misuse of asymmetric power by large platforms in the context of the Digital Services Act/Digital Markets Act, BEREC Chair Michel Van Bellinghen said that BEREC strongly supports the ex-ante concept of the DMA and advocates making it an effective enforcement framework. He highlighted that ex-ante principles and a set of general tailored remedies using these ex-ante principles could be added in addition to directly applicable obligations. The BEREC Chair also emphasized the importance of involving other stakeholders such as business users as this might increase the acceptance of regulation, helping to ensure its effective implementation. He finally also suggested involving national independent authorities to assist the Commission in making the DMA a success story.

End-user empowerment

The incoming BEREC Chair Annemarie Sipkes discussed the policies empowering end-users to make better-informed choices in the fast-evolving digital ecosystem. During the discussion, she outlined that by the end of 2021, BEREC will prepare an Opinion on the market and technological developments and their impact on the application of rights of end-users in the European Electronic Communications Code. Among others, the Opinion will also examine to what extent end-users of all electronic communications services can make free and informed choices based on complete contractual information and can switch their provider of electronic communications services easily. It will be the first time BEREC will prepare an Opinion on this. The co-legislators have entrusted BEREC to continue its work and prepare its Opinion every three years to have a whole picture of the development and the impact of the application of end-user rights.

Europe’s Digital transformation 2030

In addition to the exchange of views between GSMA and BEREC members, the BEREC Chair also participates in a roundtable discussion with the European Internet Forum (EIF) and the GSMA, to be held on 30 June. The event, bringing together legislators, regulators and stakeholders, will focus on the role of 5G connectivity in driving Europe’s economic recovery during and post COVID-19. Speakers will address how to accelerate 5G deployment in Europe.