The Malta Communications Authority (MCA) is hereby presenting its final decision on the retail and wholesale markets for the provision of high-quality access and connectivity services provided at a fixed location in Malta.
This is in accordance with the EU regulatory framework of electronic communications networks and services.
The MCA has carried out a national consultation exercise on its market review findings between the 16th of August 2016 and the 30th of September 2016. The MCA received four responses to consultation. These were submitted by the Malta Consumer and Competition Affairs Authority (MCCAA), GO plc. (GO), Vodafone Malta Ltd. (Vodafone) and Ozone Ltd. (Ozone). This decision includes the MCA reactions to consultation submissions.
Pursuant to Regulation 7 of the Electronic Communications Networks and Services Regulations (ECNSR), the MCA has also notified its draft decision on the 18th of November 2016. In its letter dated 14th December 2016, the Commission did not comment on the main findings of the draft measure but noted the relevance of the MCA updating the BUCM2 model.
The relevant draft decision was registered by the Commission as Case MT/2016/1957.
This decision identifies a wholesale market and a retail market for the provision of high-quality access and connectivity services provided at a fixed location in Malta. The relevant retail and wholesale product markets include the following products:
- Analogue leased lines;
- Semi-digital leased lines;
- Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) leased lines;
- Ethernet leased lines; and
- Wavelength-division multiplex (WDM)-based solutions.
The identified markets are national in scope.
The MCA concludes that the identified wholesale market is not competitive and that GO has SMP in the provision of wholesale high-quality access and connectivity over national leased lines in Malta. The competitive situation in this market is not expected to change within the timeframe of this review. To this effect, the MCA is mandating a number of ex ante regulatory obligations on GO, which is the operator being mandated with SMP in this wholesale market.
The MCA concludes that the identified retail market is tending towards effective competition and does not require ex ante regulatory intervention. The MCA is therefore to deregulate the retail market concerning the provision of high-quality access and connectivity services over national leased lines in Malta as no operator is deemed to hold SMP in the provision of these services.
The MCA underlines that the provision of retail national leased lines market is currently restricted to a light touch regulatory approach which features the transparency and non-discrimination obligations. The MCA believes that the removal of these two measures would not impact the drive towards a more competitive retail market, especially given the transition to Ethernet and the presence of four market players providing Ethernet-based products. The MCA further explains that the competitive situation at the retail level is linked to the wholesale market which will continue to be subject to ex ante regulation as outlined below.
Pursuant to Regulation 5(3) of the Electronic Communications Networks and Services (General) Regulations of 2011 (‘ECNSR’), the MCA shall withdraw the specific regulatory obligations, as per the 2012 decision of the MCA, currently in force on GO in this market.
This withdrawal shall however be implemented without prejudice to any other general obligations at law or remedies emanating from any other MCA decision.
In order to have a smooth transition from a regulated to a non-regulated market environment, the MCA shall withdraw the relevant existing obligations at the expiry of 90 calendar days following the publication of this decision. Current obligations shall continue in effect during these 90 calendar days.
High-quality access and connectivity services provided at a fixed location in Malta