JCRA to modify JT and Sure’s concessions as part of plans to modernise regulation

1 Apr 2021

A programme designed to modernise regulation and help set conditions for investment in new mobile technology, including 5G, has been announced by the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority (JCRA), with the watchdog saying that both JT Jersey and Sure Jersey have agreed to support it.

In a press release regarding the matter the JCRA revealed that, as part of this modernisation process, JT and Sure have agreed to support proposed changes to their statutory licences, accelerating the process of regulatory reform. According to the regulator, new licence conditions will provide for clear obligations to ensure that any use of shared assets or networks is ‘fully compatible with healthy competition, benefiting consumers through lower prices and a faster rollout of new technology’. Further, the two telcos have agreed to the introduction of certain obligations in relation to their internal compliance and training programmes, to support their commitments under regulation and competition law. A statutory consultation – which the JCRA said will be published ‘shortly’ – is expected to provide further detail and the opportunity for scrutiny of the proposed changes. Assuming those amendments are adopted, meanwhile, the regulator said it will provide more clarity on the issues to be considered with regards to network sharing in the form of guidelines, with these to be issued for consultation ‘later in 2021’.

Meanwhile, following the commitments made by JT and Sure, and in light of the duo making a public vow to ensure that any future network sharing will take competition law requirements fully into account, the JCRA has confirmed it is closing an existing investigation into an earlier Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was entered into, and then terminated, by the two operators. With this case having been closed on ‘administrative priority grounds’ prior to the authority reaching a decision, both telcos have confirmed that, in the light of the proposed changes to their concessions, they will adopt a different approach in any future network sharing arrangements, and will seek to comply with any additional guidance that the JCRA might introduce.

Commenting, the JCRA’s chief executive Tim Ringsdore said: ‘Today’s announcement is good news for consumers in Jersey. First, it lays the ground for the next wave of mobile technology, which will benefit everyone who lives, works on or visits Jersey. Second, it affirms the importance of competition law here in Jersey. The Authority is clear that it will not allow companies to act in breach of the competition law, which is designed to ensure markets work well for the benefit of all consumers and business in Jersey. As a result of our investigation, leading to securing commitments from JT and Sure, we were able to provide clarity about network sharing in future, in a way that frees our resources to focus on widening the scope of our competition law enforcement work. We are determined that any requirements for network sharing, or any type of competitive sharing, such as 5G, are developed in a fair manner that lets all operators compete fairly, safeguarding the interests of consumers and promoting economic growth and sustainability.’