Govt should sell DT shares, advisory body says

17 Dec 2013

Germany’s Monopolies Commission has published a report on competition in the telecommunications market in which it recommends the government sell its direct and indirect stake in Deutsche Telekom. According to the independent advisory group, the government’s shareholding in the telecoms operator presents ‘possible conflicts of interest arising from the simultaneous role of owner and regulator,’ adding that the proceeds from privatisation could be used to fund broadband expansion. It also notes that competition in the retail market continues to develop and reiterates that the regulation of fixed subscriber lines should be abandoned. The Monopolies Commission says it rejects a realignment of telecoms policy in the European Union that aims to accelerate consolidation processes in the markets and favours large companies, which it says would lead to a weakening of competition and rising consumer prices. ‘The telecommunications policy in Germany of the last 15 years has lead to more competition and thus more choice and lower prices for consumers,’ noted Daniel Zimmer, the chairman of the Monopolies Commission, adding: ‘This success should not be jeopardised by an industrial policy realignment of the telecommunications policy that favors a few large European companies’.

In view of the upcoming frequency allocation procedures in the mobile sector, the Monopolies Commission welcomes the plan of the Federal Network Agency (FNA) to include all foreseeable available frequencies in the process, but notes that the decision on the allocation of frequencies should wait until there is clarity about the outcome of the proposed merger between Telefonica Germany (O2) and KPN’s E-Plus.

Germany, Deutsche Telekom (DT), Federal Network Agency (FNA)