The European Commission (EC) has urged Germany’s telecoms regulator, the Federal Network Agency (FNA), to improve competition in the country’s fixed line market. The EC states that the market is still dominated by incumbent operator Deutsche Telekom (DT), which charges alternative operators to lease lines the same price as it does its own consumers, making it harder for its competitors to offer their subscribers a competitive deal. The EU’s Telecoms Commissioner, Viviane Reding, has urged the FNA to oblige DT to make its landlines available to other telecoms operators and has asked the regulator to supervise wholesale prices for alternative operators providing competing services using the incumbent’s network. Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes stated: ‘Regulation of wholesale line rental opens doors for alternative operators to enter the telecoms markets. In Germany it would allow competitors to offer consumers their services in areas where their own network infrastructure has not yet been deployed. It would also enable providers of carrier selection and carrier pre-selection services to offer bundled retail services which would enhance competition to the benefit of the consumers.’
Meanwhile, the FNA notified the EC on 16 November 2009 that it plans to oblige DT to provide carrier selection and carrier pre-selection. The regulator also said its plans to impose price controls on DT’s retail access rates, but does not plan to regulate the conditions for alternative operators using the incumbent’s network, arguing that it is already voluntarily provided under retail conditions. This means that competing operators can use the network to provide alternative services to consumers, but have to pay DT the same rate as consumers.