After the EC announced last month that it was launching an in-depth investigation into Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg)’s analysis of the retail markets for fixed telephony services and the corresponding wholesale markets in Ireland, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has now adopted, published and sent its opinion on the matter to the EC.
With ComReg confirming the development, it was noted that BEREC’s overall conclusion was that the EC’s serious doubts regarding the Irish regulator’s draft decision were only ‘partially justified’. Among the conclusions set out in the BEREC opinion were that the latter believed the EC’s serious doubts regarding the finding of a market for Retail Fixed Telephony Service (‘RFTS’) and wholesale Fixed Access and Call Origination (‘FACO’) markets were not justified. Further, BEREC also argued that doubts raised regarding three criteria test and most of the SMP assessment were also not justified. However, BEREC did say that it believed the EC’s concerns related to ‘the substantiation of the geographic market analysis and the lack of a forward-looking perspective’ were warranted.
Following BEREC’s publication of its opinion, by 20 September 2021 the EC is now required to either take a decision requiring ComReg to withdraw the draft measure, or take a decision ‘to lift it serious doubts’. For its part, ComReg has said that in the period to that date it will engage with the EC ‘as appropriate’, while noting that in the absence of adopting a final decision with respect to its analysis of the RFTS and FACO markets, both its 2014 RFTS Decision and 2015 FACO Decision remain in full effect.