December 2017: Highlights and Activities

International Meetings attended by MCA representatives

Radio Spectrum Monitoring Training
Members of the Spectrum Management & Technology Unit participated in a short training programme on radio spectrum monitoring in Munich, Germany between 19th and 22nd December, 2017.  The training programme covered areas concerning the use of specific test and measurement equipment, spectrum monitoring (including direction finding methodologies), as well as harmful interference resolution.  The programme included both theoretical and practical sessions.

33rd BEREC Plenary Meeting
MCA attended the 33rd BEREC Plenary meeting held in Copenhagen on 7th and 8th December, 2017. The BEREC Board of Regulators adopted a number of reports as a result of the work done by BEREC during 2017 on net neutrality, mobile and roaming issues and the framework review. BEREC also adopted the final version of its Work Programme for 2018 after the public consultation that ran from 11th October to 18th November. The Programme covers all five areas of BEREC strategic priorities defined in its strategy for 2018-2020 with an important focus on “5G”. In this regard BEREC will address several challenges like network sharing, coverage and security. During the Plenary, Jeremy Godfrey, Commissioner of Irish regulator ComReg, was elected BEREC Chair for 2019. Georges Michaelides (OCECPR, Cyprus) and Dan Sjöblom (PTS, Sweden) have also been elected to serve as Vice-Chairs for 2018. In 2018, BEREC will be chaired by Johannes Gungl (RTR, Austria).

62nd Radio Spectrum Committee Meeting
The Authority participated in the 62nd meeting of the Radio Spectrum Committee held in Brussels on the 4th and 5th December, 2017. The Committee has adopted a draft mandate to CEPT to study the feasibility and identify harmonised technical conditions for Wireless Access Systems, including Radio Local Area Networks in the 6 GHz band, for the provision of wireless broadband services. In addition the Committee has also considered draft decisions on:
(i) the harmonisation of additional spectrum in the 1.5 GHz band for terrestrial systems capable of providing electronic communications services
(ii) the EU-level harmonisation of the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands in support of 'Internet of Things' applications
(iii) the harmonisation of the radio spectrum for use by short range devices in the 870-876 and 915-921 MHz frequency bands

TTE Council Meeting
A representative of the MCA  attended the final Telecoms Council meeting for 2017 as part of the Maltese delegation on the 4th December. A number of topics were covered throughout this meeting mainly on the Regulation on free flow of data, Regulation on ePrivacy and the Regulation on BEREC. During this meeting, the Presidency also signed the 5G spectrum roadmap. 

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Media participation by MCA


21.12.17              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (Online Shopping)

14.12.17              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV

07.12.17              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (Addressing the Digital Divide)

07.12.17              ‘Twelveto3' – TVM
                             (Maximising your internet user experience)

06.12.17              ‘Kalamita' – One TV
                             (Internet Connectivity)

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International News


Cullen International       EU Court of Justice allows prohibition of online sales via third-party platform under condition
The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has rendered its awaited preliminary ruling in the Coty case stating that a manufacturer of luxury products can, under certain conditions, prevent its selective distributors from selling on third-party online market places such as eBay and Amazon without infringing article 101.1 TFEU [read more – subscription required].

European Council            Digital taxation: Council agrees input to international discussions
The Council has agreed on EU input to discussions at international level on the taxation of profits in the 'digital economy' [read more].

European Council            VAT on electronic commerce: New rules adopted
On 5 December 2017, the Council adopted new rules making it easier for online businesses to comply with VAT obligations [read more].

European Council            Digitalisation of transport - Council conclusions
The Council adopted conclusions on the digitalisation of transport. The conclusions underline the importance of this issue for the European economy and competitiveness, and confirm the EU's ambition to become a global leader in this area [read more].

Cullen International       EU net neutrality rules are implemented consistently by NRAs, according to BEREC
BEREC adopted its first annual report on the implementation of the EU net neutrality provisions, covering their first year into force from April 2016 until April 2017 [read more – subscription required].

Ofcom  Statement: Electronic Communications Code
In April 2017 the Digital Economy Bill received Royal Assent from both Houses of Parliament, and became the Digital Economy Act. Amongst other things, the Digital Economy Act reformed the ‘electronic communications code’ by introducing a range of measures to make it easier for network operators to roll out infrastructure (such as phone masts, exchanges and cabinets) on public and private land [read more].

Advanced Television     EU Parliament rejects digital content Single Market
The European Parliament has confirmed by 365 to 256 that the ability of users to access all their media across Europe will be restricted to news and current affairs – effectively upholding geoblocking on most content and flying in the face of the Commission’s Digital Single Market proposals [read more].

European Commission   First private sector eID scheme pre-notified by Italy under eIDAS
Italy took an important step by pre-notifying SPID (Sistema Pubblico per la gestione dell'Identità Digitale), its private sector led electronic identification (eID) scheme, to the European Commission [read more].

European Council            Online cross-border TV and radio broadcasts: Council agrees negotiating stance
The Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) agreed today on the Council's position on a proposal to facilitate digital transmissions and retransmissions of TV and radio programmes in the internal market [read more].

Total Telecom   UK telecoms leaders meet to discuss strategy for fibre networks
Senior leaders from Britain's top telecom's operators met with government officials and representatives of Ofcom to discuss strategies for investing in Britain's full fibre networks [read more].

Advanced Television     FCC ends net neutrality
As anticipated, the US Federal Communications Commission has voted three-to-two along party lines to restore what it says is the longstanding, bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework that has fostered rapid Internet growth, openness, and freedom for nearly 20 years [read more].

Cullen International       AGCOM fines four operators €1.16m each for not complying with billing obligations
The Italian national regulatory authority (AGCOM) has fined Fastweb, Telecom Italia, Vodafone and Wind-Tre €1.16m each for billing fixed-line customers on a 28‑day cycle rather than a monthly cycle [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       Uber provides a transport service, EU top court rules
The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has ruled that Uber does not provide an “information society service” but a “transport service”. This means that Uber will need to comply with urban transport regulation in each European city where it wants to provide its services [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       Norwegian regulator allows zero-rating for a second time - but remains open to future reassessment
On December 18, 2017, the Norwegian regulator, Nkom, decided that Telia’s zero rating offer “Music Freedom” is compatible with the rules on net neutrality. Nkom made a decision allowing a similar offer from Telenor on June 29, 2017 [read more – subscription required].

Ofcom                  Statement: Decision on reforming the switching of mobile communication services
Consumers need to be able to switch providers easily to exercise choice and take advantage of competition in the communications sector [read more].


Ofcom                  Fixed wireless spectrum strategy: Consultation on proposed next steps to enable future uses of fixed wireless links
Ofcom recently gathered information on how the uses of fixed wireless links could change over the next 5-10 years. This document summarises the key findings and consults on specific areas which focus on enabling ultra-high capacity wireless backhaul requirements for the future [read more].

Policy Tracker    Non-geostationary satellites want more spectrum sharing in 3.7-7GHz bands
WRC-19 Agenda Item 9.1.3 calls for studies into the technical, operational and regulatory feasibility of allowing new non-geostationary satellites in the 3.7-4.2GHz (C-band), 4.5-4.8GHz, 5.925-6.425GHz and 6.725-7.025GHz bands allocated to fixed satellite services (FSS). The proposal isn't particularly controversial but any additional spectrum sharing must be handled with care, satellite operators say [read more – subscription required].

Policy Tracker    EBU sets out priorities ahead of UHF band meeting
The first meeting of 2018 of CEPT’s conference preparatory group (CPG) for WRC-19 will be held in January and will discuss Europe’s position on the UHF band, which broadcasters in the UK have sought to influence [read more – subscription required].

Policy Tracker    UK court rejects legal challenge to 2.3GHz, 3.4GHz auction rules
The UK's High Court of Justice has rejected arguments from mobile operators Three and BT/EE that the regulator's decision to impose caps on the amount of spectrum an operator could acquire in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands was unreasonable [read more – subscription required].


Cullen International       Parliament accepts VAT changes but warns of impact on postal operators
The European Parliament has adopted a resolution, amending the draft Directive to modernise VAT for cross-border e-commerce [read more – subscription required].

European Council            Better cross-border parcel delivery services – presidency reaches provisional deal with Parliament
The Estonian presidency has reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on new rules to make cross-border parcel delivery tariffs more transparent and to give regulators more powers to monitor the cross-border parcel delivery market [read more].

Cullen International       Amazon must comply with postal regulations in Italy, including sectoral employment rules
The Italian postal regulator, AGCOM, has classified Amazon's delivery services in Italy as postal services. On December 6, 2017, AGCOM warned the company that it is required within 15 days to meet the requirements imposed on all authorised postal operators [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       EU institutions agree compromise text for Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services
The proposed Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services will not include obligations for postal universal service providers (USPs) to give access or to make their terminal dues transparent [read more – subscription required].

BBC       Advertising Standards considers inquiry into Amazon Prime
Amazon's promise of next-day deliveries could be investigated amid customer complaints that it is failing to meet that pledge [read more].


Total Telecom   T-Mobile to launch pay-TV service
T-Mobile US has announced plans to launch a disruptive new TV service in 2018. T-Mobile US has also an agreement to acquire TV technology firm Layer3 TV [read more].  Netflix is now as popular as traditional TV – PWC
The report claims cord cutting is now hitting an all-time high, with the number of pay-TV subscribers down to 73% in the US, equally posed against the 73% who subscribe to Netflix. Unfortunately for the traditional TV space, 75% state they couldn’t handle using more than four services in addition to Pay TV. Considering the number of increasingly attractive alternative content channels is only growing, the end of traditional TV is becoming clearer [read more].


Advanced Television     Disney, Fox deal confirmed
In an move that complements and enhances The Walt Disney Company’s ability to provide consumers around the world with more appealing content and entertainment options, the entertainment giant has agreed to acquire 21st Century Fox, including the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and international TV businesses, for $52.4 billion in stock [read more].

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