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Seinfeld January 28, 2007

Posted by Jasper in Uncategorized.
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Some Sunday fun, Jerry Seinfeld on cell phones. Click here. Enjoy.

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Netherlands: sub-loop unbundling January 25, 2007

Posted by Jasper in Uncategorized.
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The Dutch regulatory authority OPTA published a letter yesterday where it essentially dennounces it previous intention to abandon to publish policy rules for the phasing out of local loop unbundling from Main Distribution Frames. Specifically, OPTA states that permitting KPN to withdraw MDF access would only be conceivable if market entry possibilities and the continuity of service provision by alternative operators would be sufficiently guaranteed. According to OPTA, the studies conducted, and input received from alternative operators, indicate that it is not sufficiently clear that a fully fledged alternative would be sufficiently guaranteed.

A study by Analysys is quoted that concludes that the business case for an alternative operator using sub-loop unbundling from street cabinets is slim, i.e. is likely to be economically viable under very few circumstances. A summary of the report is available here (last two pages in English).

[From T-Regs]

Update: OPTA has now released a public version of the study entitled ‘The Business Case for Sub-Loop Unbundling in The Netherlands‘. The report can be accessed here.

UK: International roaming with 3 January 17, 2007

Posted by Jasper in Mobile.
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Yesterday 3 in the UK announced what may mark a new round of cuts to international roaming rates or changes to charging structures (excerpt from press release):

3 today throws down the gauntlet to the other mobile operators to put an end the ‘international roaming rip-off’ with the launch of ‘3 Like Home’. ‘3 Like Home’ marks an end to extra charges for all 3 customers by allowing them to use their existing bundles when using any 3 network abroad.

All 3 customers visiting Ireland, Italy, Austria, Australia, Hong Kong, Sweden and Denmark will now be able to take advantage of being on one of 3’s sister networks to use their existing minutes, text and data bundles to make voice and video calls, send texts, picture and video messages, and even surf the internet or watch TV from their handsets while abroad without accruing any additional charges.

3 Like Home also marks an end to customers being charged to receive calls when abroad – a practice that has led to many people opting to keep their mobiles switched off while abroad to avoid expensive charges. With ‘3 Like Home’, customers on any of their sister networks will be able to receive their calls and texts free of charge – just like they do at home.

Unlike other mobile operators who charge consumers a one-off fee or monthly subscription to access better calling rates to and avoid ‘roaming charges’ – the extra cost for making and receiving calls and data abroad – 3 Like Home will automatically apply when customers are on any of 3’s sister networks.

Great news if you’re a 3 subscriber in the UK travelling to Ireland, Australia, Italy, Austria, Hong Kong, Sweden or Denmark. Not so great if you’re anything else. Judging from other 3 websites a similar initiative has not been taken in other jurisdictions (at least not yet). 

Ireland: Mobile termination H3GI January 12, 2007

Posted by Jasper in Mobile, Regulation.
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The Irish regulator ComReg is consulting on wholesale voice call termination on Hutchison 3G Ireland’s mobile network, releasing a consultation paper yesterday.

The interesting thing about this consultation is that reference is made to a bargaining model by Binmore and Harbord (BH).  This model emphasises the bargaining dynamic when operators set termination rates. While considerations of countervailing buying power and the like have been considered in mobile termination consultations before this would appear to be the first time that bargaining has been considered more formally by a regualtor.

ComReg has a number of reservations about the model, their principal being that its predicted outcomes do not fit the empirical evidence. The BH model predicts that H3GI would achieve termination rates equal to the average of the lowest termination rates in the market, this has not happened, as H3GI’s rates are above the levels in the overall mobile market. The BH model also predicts that in a situation of regulatory intervention stemming from the interconnectivity obligation and dispute resolution that H3GI’s bargaining power would be increased but that termination rates would remain around the average of the 2G operator rates. Again, this has not happened, H3GI’s rates are above the level in the overall mobile market.

I haven’t read the whole consultation document yet, but it certainly has a very different flavour than many other model termination consultations that nowadays more or less revolve around the same issues.

The consultation paper is available here.

Sweden: Government report on broadband January 5, 2007

Posted by Jasper in broadband, Strategy.
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Before Christmas I had a closer look at the broadband strategy in Sweden. At that time I wasn’t aware of a report published in December last year by the Government’s working group on IT infrastructure and broadband (under the IT Policy Strategy Group).

The working group produced the following vision for the area:

Sweden must be the country where an efficient and secure IT infrastructure provides the best conditions for enterprise, innovation and eServices, both public and private. IT must enable Swedish people to access the services they need, no matter where they are.

To achieve the vision they set up the following general objectives for IT infrastructure:

The whole of Sweden should have an efficient and future-proof infrastructure for electronic communications with high transfer capacity in both directions, so as to enable good technical quality of transfer for multimedia services, in a functional, cost-effective and competitive market.

They mention a number of measures that need to be adopted to achieve this oal including:

  • developing an IT policy agenda within general industrial policy;
  • broadband subsidies;
  • investment in fibre-cabling;
  • built-out and coordination of passive infrastructure (ducts, poles etc.); and
  • a predictable spectrum policy.

The most important aspect is that the measures adopted should be characterised by their long-term and foreseeable nature – all with a view to creating a market, where there is sound competition, in which the end-user is in focus and where there are incentives for investments and innovation.

The report contains a separate section that dwells on why governments (municipal, state and national) should focus on the build out of “passive” infrastructure to enable broadband for all.

The report is available here (in English).