Latvian telecoms watchdog the Public Utilities Commission (Sabiedrisko Pakalpojumu Regulesanas Komisija, SPRK) has granted wireless operators Bite and Tele2 permission to share a portion of their spectrum holdings. The SPRK said in a statement that it conducted an ‘extensive investigation’ into the matter to ensure that the cooperation between the two operators does not endanger competition in the sector. The decision permits the two cellcos to jointly use up to 44% of their total frequencies. The remaining spectrum will still be used individually by each operator. The companies are also allowed to share infrastructure such as towers, masts and base stations.
Explaining the decision, the SPRK’s acting chairman Intars Birzins was quoted as saying: ‘Frequency and infrastructure sharing is a common practice among European countries that is likely to increase in the future. It was our duty to assess how far the joint cooperation between the two operators can be. To this end, the SPRK analysed the benefits of joint cooperation through a counterfactual analysis that is also used by other European countries. We have based our decision on both EU and national legislation. The case also takes into account the documents of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the results of the SPRK survey of regulators from 18 countries on practices in other countries.’
According to the SPRK, Bite and Tele2 submitted their request in August 2020 and in the subsequent months the regulator has requested and received additional information from the pair. Further, other interested parties were given the opportunity to comment on the potential effects of the cooperation on competition.