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Competition

PR(04)13: EFTA Surveillance Authority launches consultation on draft Recommendation on relevant product and service markets for electronic communications

13.5.2004

On 6 February 2004, the new regulatory framework for electronic communications services and networks was incorporated into the EEA Agreement. The entry into force of the new package in the three EEA EFTA States Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway is expected in autumn 2004, pending fulfillment of constitutional requirements.

Pursuant to Article 15(1) of the Framework Directive 2002/21/EC as incorporated, the EFTA Surveillance Authority shall adopt a recommendation on relevant product and service markets susceptible to ex ante regulation in accordance with the principles of EEA competition law. The Authority shall adopt the recommendation after consultation with the public and with national regulatory authorities.

The European Commission has adopted Recommendation 2003/311/EC of 11 February 2003on relevant product and service markets within the electronic communications sector susceptible to ex ante regulation. Prior to its adoption, national administrations and the public were extensively consulted on a draft of the Recommendation. The Commission Recommendation is accompanied by an Explanatory Memorandum[1].

In order to provide for a homogenous application of the new regulatory framework throughout the EEA, the Authority launches the present consultation on its draft Recommendation while taking due account of Commission Recommendation 2003/311/EC and while acknowledging that an extensive consultation has already been conducted by the Commission. For these reasons, the Authority's draft Recommendation does not depart from the Recommendation adopted by the Commission unless this is necessary in order to align it with the EEA Agreement. Likewise, the Authority shall take into account the Explanatory Memorandum to the Commission Recommendation when it applies its Recommendation.

Interested parties are invited to focus their comments on issues of common importance for all three EFTA States. In this context, the Authority would like to draw attention to the fact that particularities of national markets justifying a divergence from the relevant markets to be identified in the Recommendation are to be notified and assessed pursuant to the procedure laid down in Article 7 of the Framework Directive.

The draft Recommendation on relevant product and service markets can be consulted on Authority's website. The EFTA Surveillance Authority invites interested parties to submit their comments on the draft Recommendation no later than 23 June 2004, by e-mail to eCOM@eftasurv.int. All comments submitted will be published on the Authority's website unless clearly marked as confidential.

In addition to the Recommendation on relevant markets, Article 15(2) of the Framework Directive as incorporated provides that the Authority shall publish Guidelines for market analysis and the assessment of significant market power in accordance with the principles of EEA competition law. Similar to the draft Recommendation, the draft Guidelines closely follow the Commission Guidelines on market analysis and the assessment of significant market power under the Community regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (2002/C165/03). The Authority therefore makes available its draft Guidelines on its website, for information purposes.

The current consultation procedure is handled by the Authority's eCOM Task Force. For additional information regarding the eCOM Task Force or the notification procedure under Article 7 of the Framework Directive please visit the Authority's website at http://www.eftasurv.int/fieldsofwork/fieldservices/telecoms/dbaFile5012.html.

For any further information please contact Ms. Dessy Choumelova (+32)(0)2 286 18 59 or Mr. Frank Büchel (+32)(0)2 286 18 62.

[1] Explanatory Memorandum to the Commission Recommendation

13 May 2004




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