Market Analysis and Competition
The MCA’s market review function serves the strategic purpose of ensuring that local telecoms markets evolve in a competitive manner, to the benefit of consumers. Developments to date show that the implementation of the SMP-based approach in carrying out market reviews, as prescribed by the EU Regulatory Framework, has been instrumental to overcome competition bottlenecks in several fixed and mobile markets. In fact, regulatory intervention has been rolled back in a number of these markets, particularly in fixed telephony and mobile telephony markets.
In other markets, however, the conditions for a finding of single dominance have been met and these are still regulated. The MCA will continue to focus its work on developing its regulatory approaches and practices in these markets in order to facilitate competition and thereby market entry and investment in the new high-speed broadband environment.
For the coming years, the MCA, like all other European NRAs, will review a pre-determined set of sector markets in line with the EU recommendation on relevant markets. These markets correspond to the provision of fixed voice termination services via fixed and mobile networks, the provision of high quality business connectivity services and the provision of fixed access.
On the basis of a standard approach in defining and analysing markets, the MCA will decide whether or not these markets are constrained by competition bottlenecks or whether they are likely to become effectively competitive. Regulatory intervention would follow in case competition bottlenecks are identified.
The standard three-stage approach adopted in the carrying out market reviews is outlined below:
- Stage 1 – Market definition - Definition of relevant markets susceptible to ex-ante regulation;
- Stage 2 – Market analysis - Assessment of competition and identification of current / potential competition bottlenecks / designation of operators with SMP;
- Stage 3 – Regulatory approach - Selection / imposition of ex-ante regulatory obligations that are appropriate and proportionate
The Data Gathering Function
Timely access to accurate and reliable information and data is vital to support the MCA’s decisions. To this end, the MCA collects a wide range of data from electronic communication providers, in line with its statutory powers for this purpose, where appropriate. The MCA depends upon the close cooperation of electronic communication providers in submitting accurate and timely responses to our data directions and request for information.
The data gathering function also serves the purposes of updating the general public with latest developments in communications markets and in enhancing transparency of changes in market structure and pricing. To this effect, the MCA developed a set of regular publications that consolidated the visibility on such developments, including:
- the quarterly ‘Data Report Sheet (DRS)’ that outlines a set of indicators for telecoms and post;
- the bi-annual ‘Communications Market Review (CMR)’ that describes in more detail the developments underpinning the local telecoms and postal markets; and
- the monthly ‘Pricing Developments’ publication that outlines the main changes in the product line-up in telecoms for the preceding month.
This activity is supplemented by public and business perception surveys as necessary in order to assess, amongst other things, the level of satisfaction with the services provided by electronic communication operators and the extent to which it is addressing customer needs. The results of these surveys serve as an additional source of information for regulatory decisions, and to indicate how customers’ needs are changing over time.