ANCOM approves MVNO regulatory guidelines

8 May 2012

The National Authority for Management and Regulations in Communications (ANCOM) has published a set of regulatory guidelines to pave the way for the introduction of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) into the Romanian wireless market. The new document explains the practicalities of authorisation, the allocation of numbering resources and the conclusion of agreements with mobile network operators, within the context of the current regulatory framework. Access agreements concluded between the existing operators and any prospective MVNOs must allow for an ‘efficient economic use of the network’, and contain non-discriminatory conditions in terms of quality of service (QoS). Further, terms must not limit the commercial autonomy of the MVNO, nor its capacity to change host operators, nor conclude agreements with several operators. Since the MVNOs will not hold frequency usage rights in view of the provision of mobile communications services, they will not pay fees for the use of the radio spectrum.

Interestingly, ANCOM says that a total of 17 operators currently authorised to provide electronic communications services have expressed an interest in operating as MVNOs, suggesting that an influx of internet service providers (ISPs) into the mobile market could be on the cards. In addition, earlier this year it was reported that any international companies unsuccessful in buying Long Term Evolution (LTE) frequencies in ANCOM’s imminent spectrum auction will be encouraged to negotiate deals with the winning bidders and enter the local market as MVNOs; the likes of US-based AT&T Inc, China Mobile and Norwegian giant Telenor have all been linked to the LTE tender.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, on 21 August 2008 ANCOM opened up non-geographic numbers in the 0ZA = 070 sub-domain for the allocation of MVNOs, which was expected to pave the way for the introduction of virtual operators in the country. Numbers were expected to be allotted in blocks of 100,000, but the scheme never came to fruition. Last year, citing the 15th annual report by the European Commission (EC), ANCOM suggested that of all current EU member states, only Romania and the Czech Republic do not allow MVNOs to operate in their respective wireless markets, although the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) is currently believed to be in the process of implementing similar legislation.