Monday, October 05, 2015

Competition in telecom markets - European Commission

Competition in telecom markets - European Commission: "The merger would have created the largest mobile network operator in Denmark and would have resulted in a highly concentrated market structure.

If the deal had materialised, there would have been two large mobile operators – the merged entity and the former national monopolist, TDC. Between them, they would have had around 80% of the market. The third, smaller player would have been Hi3G.

The two merging companies already operated a joint network, which offers a network of similarly high quality as the network of the former incumbent TDC.

Of course, this fact is highly relevant in our assessment of mergers, as a high network quality can be achieved without having to sacrifice retail competition.

According to our analysis, the merger would have had anti-competitive unilateral effects across the board from retail private and business customers to wholesale customers and co-ordinated effects at least on certain retail customers." 'via Blog this'

Friday, October 02, 2015

BEREC work on net neutrality in 2016

Consultation open this month, work to be conducted largely in secret:
"BEREC has the task to develop guidelines for the implementation of the obligations of NRAs related to the supervision, enforcement and transparency measures for ensuring an open Internet access. Therefore, BEREC will especially ensure a common approach to net neutrality rules.
In addition to this BEREC will have a close look and get actively involved in the announced revision process of the Universal Service Directive as part of the review of the regulatory framework giving priority to user protection"
Deliverables: Public consultation on draft Guidelines after P2/2016Adoption of Guidelines within 9 months after entry into force (dependent on date of adoption)
It is important that quality monitoring is considered trustworthy among stakeholders, in particular within an evolving policy area as net neutrality, and a harmonised approach broadly supported by regulators could contribute to this. The collaborative functionality proposal would include enhanced features such as cross-border performance measurements and multi-country monitoring data analysis. The common system could also function as a platform for collaboration between regulators and facilitate development and testing of new monitoring methods and measurement tools which can be gradually phased in by individual participating regulators. The 2015 BEREC NN QoS Feasibility study will be the basis for the BoR to take a decision on whether to move forward to specifying an opt-in quality monitoring system (with a separate decision on whether to establish it to be taken in 2017).
Deliverables: Description of the framework for NRAs to collaborate in an opt-in quality monitoring system – P1/2017 (subject to a BoR decision) Overall system requirement specification for the opt-in quality monitoring system – P1/2017 (subject to a BoR decision) BEREC regulatory toolkit for NN QoS assessment – P1/2017

Slovenia and Netherlands formal objection to Council position on net neutrality/zero rating

30 September:
SL: "Slovenia fears that the new arrangements will result in a two-layer Internet: a slow 'best effort' service model and a high-speed Internet with guaranteed quality for an additional charge. Slovenia believes that this is the wrong response to the competitive challenges facing the European industry in the global digital market. Also, given the current legal protection of Internet neutrality in Slovenia, we cannot support the final TSM regulation."
NL: "Effective net neutrality rules also require discriminatory pricing practices to be clearly prohibited. Such a clear ban on price discrimination is unfortunately not included in the final compromise. The Netherlands will therefore be obliged to withdraw this ban from its national net neutrality rules, even though it was applied effectively. The lack of a clear ban on price discrimination has been a fundamental concern for the Netherlands throughout the negotiations. This fundamental concern is expressed by a vote against the Regulation."

Thursday, September 24, 2015 Risks the Web’s Future in Pakistan Risks the Web’s Future in Pakistan | Al Jazeera America: "Approximately 30 million of Pakistan’s 191 million population have Internet, half of them through their mobile phone, according to a report by mobile survey company The Internet has empowered them with genuine freedom of speech without censorship. Paradoxically, is set to put freedom of expression at risk. Its consequences can be detrimental in repressive regimes such as Pakistan where governments are pursuing an active agenda for censoring the Internet in the name of national security and social and religious values. Facebook through this initiative is strangely putting itself in a position whereby governments could pressure to block certain types of content or users who access it. This can be especially harmful for politically active users in restrictive environments. Moreover, the security and privacy of individual users will also be at a constant risk of malicious attacks and spying by the government. 

The goal of providing universal, affordable Internet access to every person on Earth is too large and too important for any one company, group or government to solve alone. It requires a cohesive multi-stakeholders approach that demonstrates a commitment to the public interest, fairness and transparency. As for this particular effort, Facebook through appears to be focused instead on expanding its user base and advertising empire in the developing world, all in the name of providing free access to ‘the Internet.’ This nefarious development agenda is no different from the ones pursued in the periods of colonialism, imperialism and then capitalism where resourceful governments and corporations exploited the poor countries with the fake promises of development." 'via Blog this'

17 basic online services (inc. BBC & stripped down Cricinfo?) in Pakistan's Internet.Org offered by Telenor

Press Releases: ""We are excited to expand our partnership with Telenor Pakistan and provide people with access to free basic services through, said Markku Makelainen, Director of Global Operator Partnerships at Facebook. With, more people in Pakistan will have access to free basic internet tools and information that can create new opportunities and help improve their lives."

Through this initiative, Telenor Pakistan's customers will now have free access to the following 17 basic online services including Accuweather, BBC, BabyCenter &MAMA, Malaria No More, UNICEF Facts for Life,, ESPN Cricinfo, Mustakbil, ilmkidunya, Telenor News, Urdupoint Cooking, OLX, Facebook, Messenger, Wikipedia and Telenor WAP MobilePortal, via 2G and 3G platforms both, by accessing or by downloading the Android app." 'via Blog this'

A Reminder Why the Quello Center Net Neutrality Impact Study is Important

A Reminder Why the Quello Center Net Neutrality Impact Study is Important | Quello Center | Michigan State University: "While these increases may have nothing to do with FCC policy, they seem very difficult to reconcile with Singer’s strongly-assserted argument, especially when coupled with the above discussion of company-specific reasons for large CapEx declines for AT&T and Charter.  As that discussion suggests, the reality behind aggregated industry numbers (especially when viewed through a short-term window of time) is often more complex and situation-specific than our economic models and ideologies would like it to be.  This may make our research harder and messier to do at times, but certainly not less valuable.  It also speaks to the value of longitudinal data collection and analysis, to better understand both short-term trends and those that only become clear over a longer term.  That longitudinal component is central to the approach being taken by the Quello Center’s study of net neutrality impacts.

One last general point before closing out this post. I didn’t see any reference in Singer’s piece or the AEI-published follow-ups to spending by non-incumbent competitive providers, including municipally and privately owned fiber networks that are offering attractive combinations of speed and price in a growing number of markets around the country. While this category of spending may be far more difficult to measure than investments by large publicly-owned ISPs, it may be quite significant in relation to public policy, given its potential impact on available speeds, prices and competitive dynamics." 'via Blog this'

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Internet Investment ‘Meltdown’ That Isn’t - Complicated...

The Internet Investment ‘Meltdown’ That Isn’t | Free Press: "That truth can be found by poring over the data made available because of the investor reporting requirements these companies must abide by. It’s also helpful to read over the explanations from company executives as to the rationale behind their investments. Such scrutiny invalidates Singer’s claims and exposes his findings as both misleading and meaningless.

You can also scrutinize Singer’s initial posting at Forbes and the back and forth between Singer and Free Press.

We’re confident that anyone who reads this exchange and weighs the evidence will reach our same conclusion: There are far too many variables and too much contradictory information for anyone to conclude — or even suggest — that the Title II ruling had a negative impact on investment." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

EC rejected TeliaSonera’s concessions – 4 mobiles in each market - so veto of Three/O2?

EC rejected TeliaSonera’s concessions – POLITICO: "“What the parties offered was not sufficient to avoid harm to competition in Danish mobile markets,” said Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for competition, in an emailed statement this morning.

 TeliaSonera’s Finance Chief Christian Luiga was disappointed, apologizing to shareholders on a conference call, “We have done our best too make this happen.” TeliaSonera and Telenor are the second and third largest players on the Danish market. In its final concessions, TeliaSonera offered to divest a stake in its network and transfer mobile customers to allow for a fourth mobile network operator into the market. Simon Weeden, an analyst at Citigroup, argued on the call that previous concessions on telecoms mergers suggested such a solution should have been enough. Luiga declined to comment.

 The Commission’s decision signals it will insist on each market having four mobile network operators." 'via Blog this'

Data remains an expensive luxury in Africa but free internet may not come free

Data remains an expensive luxury in Africa but free internet may not come free: "In South Africa one gigabyte of data on mobile networks – the only means of accessing the internet for most – is R149 (pre-paid). This means that for millions of people in the country data is a luxury.

So when mobile operators start giving some of this valuable commodity for free it warrants attention. From July, the country’s third-largest mobile services provider Cell C started offering some services such as Facebook and Wikipedia for free without paying for the data.

In the telecoms industry this is called zero-rating.

This is not the only example of zero-rating in South Africa. In September, the country’s second largest operator MTN announced a deal for its on-demand internet video service FrontRow. MTN now allows streaming of videos without data charges. This is not insignificant, as an hour-long television programme can use over 300 megabytes of data." 'via Blog this'

Videotron Tests Neutrality In Canada: Biggest Music Apps Now Cap Exempt

Videotron Tests Neutrality In Canada: Biggest Music Apps Now Cap Exempt | Techdirt: "

"The pernicious thing about zero rating is that it is marketed as a consumer friendly offering by the mobile carrier – “we are not charging you for data when you are on Spotify." But what all of this zero rating activity is setting up is a mobile internet that looks a lot more like cable TV than our wide open Internet. Soon a startup will have to negotiate a zero rating plan before launching because mobile app customers will be trained to only use apps that are zero rated on their network."

For some reason, many people can't see the threat posed by zero rating. Stop by any Reddit thread on the subject, and you'll usually find most users utterly clueless to the potential pitfalls of letting carriers inject themselves as middle men in this fashion (free Spotify, bro!). Even T-Mobile, currently the US wireless industry consumer darling (whose "Music Freedom" idea Videotron is copying), doesn't understand the pitfalls of zero rating.

Regulators too have gone out of their way to avoid seriously addressing zero rating, meaning that companies can dance over and under net neutrality rules, just as long as they're clever about marketing the violations as a boon to consumers." 'via Blog this'

NetFlix UK peaktime streaming chart for August 2015 3-4Mbps

"The Netflix ISP Speed Index is a measure of prime time Netflix performance on particular ISPs (internet service providers) around the globe, and not a measure of overall performance for other services/data that may travel across the specific ISP network."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, September 13, 2015

FCC Approval Of Zero Rating Shows Companies Can Still Violate Neutrality

From March 6 - Karl Bode nails it: FCC Approval Of Zero Rating Shows Companies Can Still Violate Neutrality Under New Rules, They Just Have To Be More Clever About It | Techdirt: "My guess is that the FCC is going to be so busy trying to appease all of the folks fanning their faces over "heavy handed government regulation," that it will probably give ample leeway to services like this. And that's a problem. As I've noted a few times, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are smart enough to avoid ham-fisted neutrality abuses like outright blocking or throttling services, and U.S. telecom regulators have already shown they're perfectly ok with all manner of anti-competitive behavior -- provided you pony up a half-assed technical justification for plausible deniability. " 'via Blog this'

Saturday, September 12, 2015

£50m BT Plan to Upgrade Broadband in 30 Cities Starts in London

UPDATE £50m BT Plan to Upgrade Broadband in 30 Cities Starts in London - ISPreview UK: "The good news is that the first 30,503 homes and businesses of the 400,000 goal have today been announced and few will be surprised to learn that they’re all in London. Over the next two years some 20,213 are expected to benefit in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (total coverage of 80,000 premises in the borough), while another 10,290 will benefit in Greenwich (total coverage of 100,000 premises in the borough).

 BT claims that its full roll-out will increase overall fibre availability across London, pushing upwards from around 90% to roughly 95% of premises (Openreach’s network alone will hit 90% in two years, while the remainder will be covered by alternative networks like Virgin Media). It should be said that Virgin Media also overlaps with a lot of BT’s urban network." 'via Blog this'

Statement by Commissioner Vestager on Telenor/TeliaSonera failed merger

European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Statement by Commissioner Vestager on announcement by Telenor and TeliaSonera to withdraw from proposed merger: "The European Commission takes note of Telenor and TeliaSonera's announcement this morning that they are abandoning the proposed merger of their respective business units in Denmark. The Commission confirms that the discussions with the parties thus far were not able to fully address the Commission's competition concerns created by the proposed merger. The Commission had opened an in-depth investigation on 8 April 2015.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in charge of competition policy said: "EU merger control has to make sure that company tie-ups do not lead to reduced innovation, higher prices or reduced choice for consumers and do not restrict competition in the internal market.
I believe that ensuring that markets are competitive is key both to spur much needed innovation and investment in European telecoms markets, as well as to offer affordable prices to consumers.
Every case has to be assessed on its own facts and merits. In this specific case, based on the Commission's in-depth analysis and evidence gathered, we are convinced that the significant competition concerns required an equally significant remedy. This means the creation of a fourth mobile network operator.  What the parties offered was not sufficient to avoid harm to competition in Danish mobile markets."
STATEMENT/15/5627" 'via Blog this'