Lithuania’s new Law on Electronic Communications enters force

2 Dec 2021

The Lithuanian government has confirmed that its new Law on Electronic Communications entered force on 1 December 2021. The regulatory overhaul has seen the previous document, Law No. IX-2135, amended to transpose the European Electronic Communications Code into Lithuanian national law. The Communications Regulatory Authority (Rysiu Reguliavimo Tarnyba, RRT) summarises the key changes as follows:

· The broader definition of an ‘electronic communications service’ has been tweaked and is now broken down as follows: internet access services; interpersonal communication services; and services consisting mainly of signal transmission.

· There have been changes to radio spectrum management, by way of an EU-wide harmonisation of the allocation and use of spectrum. There is also a longer period of validity (20 years) for authorisations to use EU-wide harmonised spectrum.

· In terms of access to ultra-high bandwidth networks, operators will be encouraged to co-invest in high-bandwidth public communications networks (both fixed and mobile), thus sharing business risk. An operator with significant market power (SMP) will be able to co-invest in the construction of new networks under clear and transparent conditions.

· In order to ensure the consistency of the regulatory environment and reduce the administrative burden, the RRT will be required to conduct market research every five years, instead of three as before.

· The scope of universal electronic communications services has been revised and the obligation to provide telephone services via payphones will be abolished, but the obligation to provide affordable universal e-communications services to certain groups of consumers will be introduced.

· Finally, the law will bring favourable changes to ensure the protection of consumer interests. The adoption of legislation implementing this law will make it simpler and easier to change service provider for consumers using both interpersonal communications and internet access services.

Lithuania, Communications Regulatory Authority (RRT)