EC blocks ComReg’s proposed regulation of fixed voice market

22 Sep 2021

A veto decision blocking Irish regulator the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) from adopting proposed regulation related to the market for retail fixed telephony services and the corresponding wholesale markets in Ireland has been issued by the EC. According to the European agency, it considers that the proposed measures ‘would have led to unnecessary continuation of regulation in a fixed voice telephony market’.

In a press release, the EU claimed that ComReg’s proposed definition of the product market was ‘not sufficiently supported by the evidence presented (in particular on the constraints exerted by mobile on fixed voice calls)’, while it argued the Irish regulator had ‘inappropriately delineated the geographic market’. Further, the EC said it considered that, with the market tending towards effective competition, the analysis proposed by the Irish regulator ‘is not sufficiently forward looking’, while adding that it was ‘insufficient to conclude that the historic incumbent still holds significant market power and would therefore be in a position to behave independently of competitors and ultimately end users in this market’.

For its part, ComReg has issued a statement noting the EC’s ‘Withdrawal Decision’, in which it said that having considered its content and implications, it aims to provide a further update ‘in due course, as appropriate’. Meanwhile, the regulator noted that, as it has not yet adopted an updated decision with respect to its analysis of the Retail Fixed Telephony Service (‘RFTS’) and wholesale Fixed Access and Call Origination (‘FACO’) markets, both its 2014 RFTS Decision and 2015 FACO Decision remain in full effect.