January 2018: Highlights and Activities

International Meetings attended by MCA representatives

51st Meeting of the Administrative Board of the European GNSS Agency
An MCA representative attended the 51st Meeting of the Administrative Board of the European GNSS Agency which was held on the 31st of January 2018 in Prague, Czech Republic.  Mr. Carlo des Dorides, GSA’s Executive Director, provided an update on the GSA State of Play.  The Administrative Board reviewed financial elements for the upcoming year and a three year budgetary plan. It also exchanged views on Market Development and uptake.

RSPG - Radio Spectrum Policy Group 45th Meeting
An official represented the MCA in the RSPG plenary meeting. The RSPG's second opinion on 5G and the 'RSPG Working Programme for 2018 and beyond' were adopted. The state of play in regards to the EU Member States' coordination agreements on the 700 MHz spectrum band was discussed.  The next milestone is the EU Member States' national roadmaps to facilitate the use of the 700 MHz band for terrestrial wireless broadband services and of the sub-700 MHz band for television broadcasting services by the end of June.

WG - Universal Services - Regulatory Needs of the Postal Sector
An MCA resource participated in the ERGP working group on the future of postal regulation.  The working group will, in 2018, identify core developments and issues in the postal sector and examine whether the Postal Services Directive and its related instruments are adequate to address them. In 2019, the working group will Draft ERGP recommendations to the European Commission in the perspective of assisting in reviewing or reforming the Postal Services Directive.

5th Meeting of the H2020 Future Internet Forum
The MCA attended the scheduled Horizon 2020 Future Internet Forum (FIF) meeting at the European Convention Centre in Luxembourg on the 29th January 2018. It was chaired by Pearse O’Donahue who is the Head of Unit Software, Services & Cloud, DG CONNECT, European Commission.
Similarly to the last FIF meeting, the event focused exclusively on the on-going Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative whereby member states are in the process of nominating designated points of contact to assist the commission in easing the delivery of the NGI vision in each member state. During the roundtable, the MCA acting as the local point of contact gave an overview of the workshop which was held in December 2017 at the MCA premises with parties mainly from the academia, technology and researchers who are interested in working on NGI projects in Malta. The other member states also shared their experience in the organisation of the NGI workshops.

BEREC Benchmarking Kick-Off Meeting 2018
A representative of the MCA participated in the BEREC benchmarking Kick-Off meeting, which was held on the 24th January 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. The scope of the meeting is to kick-off the 2018 benchmarking projects.  This year there are five work streams to focus on, from the ongoing FTR/MTR/ SMS data collection to the new interesting projects such as identifying IoT-related indicators, and creating a new methodology for the evaluation of bundling prices.

High Level Internet Governance Group Meeting
The MCA was represented by one of its officials at The High Level Internet Governance (HLIG) group meeting, which took place on the 23rd January 2018, at the Centre Albert Borschette in Brussels. It was chaired by Pearse O’Donahue who is the Head of Unit Software, Services & Cloud, DG CONNECT, European Commission.
The meeting was split in two sessions, in the morning there was the multistakeholder session and during the afternoon, there was a closed session dedicated solely for the member states. The session started with an update by the European Commission on the .eu REFIT review initiative – this followed an update which was given to the audience during the last HLIG meeting of October 2017. This initiative aims to test the relevance and suitability of existing rules and adapt them to ensure the continued viability of the .eu TLD. An update on the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2017 which was held in Geneva at the end of December 2017 was also presented. The European Parliament sent a delegation of 7 MEPs spanning different political groups headed by Commissioner Mariya Gabriel thus playing an active role both during the IGF preparation and also during the event itself. Other points on the agenda were related to the upcoming EuroDig meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia and preparations for the upcoming ICANN meeting in March.

Joint BEREC - RSPG Meeting on Spectrum Authorisation for 5G
An MCA representative attended for a joint BEREC-RSPG meeting on the 18th January 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. The joint BEREC-RSPG meeting mainly addressed the topics of spectrum authorisation and mobile connectivity. During the meeting, the BEREC work items for the coming year, related to the best practices on spectrum authorisation and award procedure in regards to 5G were also discussed.

BEREC's Net Neutrality Expert Working Group
The MCA continued with its participation in the BEREC’s Net Neutrality Expert Working Group between the 16th and 18th January 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. The working group is currently preparing a tender document for the procurement of a Net Neutrality measurement tool. BEREC is also preparing the publication of a consultation paper for stakeholders concerning their views/experience of the Net Neutrality Regulation.

RSPG Peer Review Workshop on the 3.6GHz Bank Spectrum Award
An MCA official attended for a peer learning workshop on the recent Irish 3.6 GHz band spectrum award on the 16th and 17th January 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. The workshop was conducted by the RSPG on behalf of the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). The main aim of the workshop was to exchange different views in regards to the future spectrum assignment policies, including fee structures and technical conditions assigned with the licences.

RSPG 'Good Offices' Meeting
A representative of the MCA attended the Radio Spectrum Policy Group 'Good Offices' meeting on the 16th January 2018 at Maisons-Alfort, France. During the meeting, the state-of-play of the harmful interference situation in the area surrounding Italy was analysed. The attendees also examined the responses to the 4th questionnaire on the UHF band between 470-790 MHz.

The 5th CPG19 Meeting
The MCA participated in the 5th Conference Preparatory Group meeting of the Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) held in Budapest, Hungary, between the 8th and 11th January 2018.  This group is responsible for developing briefs, studies and European Common Proposals (ECPs) for the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19).

back to index

Media participation by MCA


25.01.18              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (How to terminate a service)

18.01.18              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (What should I look out for before signing a contract)

11.01.18              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (Subscribing to an electronic communications service)

04.01.18              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (Free WIFI in Public Places)


23.01.18              ‘Ta' Kullhadd' – RTK
                             (Mobile Data)

back to index

Legal Updates

Pending lawsuits

  • 9th January 2018: Vodafone et vs MCA re contestation of Legal Interception dues – pending before the First Hall Civil Court – adjourned to the 1st March 2018 for final judgment
  • 11th January 2018: Vodafone vs MCA pending before ART – contestation of regulatory decision of 2014 on MTRs before the Administrative Review Tribunal. Case decided in favour of MCA. No appeal was filed.
  • 11th January 2018: Vodafone vs MCA before ART – contesting MCA’s decision entitled ‘Virtual Unbundled Access to Fibre-to-the-Home: implementing the VULA remedy’ – adjourned to the 13th March 2018 for continuation of evidence.
  • 11th January 2018: Vodafone vs MCA before ART - contesting MCA’s decision entitled ‘“Wholesale call origination on the public telephone network provided at a fixed location in Malta – MCA decision on market definition and the assessment of competition”. MCA presented its evidence by affidavit - case adjourned for the 13th March 2018.
  • 11th January 2018: Vodafone vs MCA before ART - contesting an MCA decision following a dispute filed by Vodafone against GO plc requesting access to GO’s ducts networks. Adjourned to 13th March 2018 for MCA’s evidence.
  • 11th January 2018: Vodafone vs MCA before ART – contestation of MCA’s retail market decision 2015 – adjourned to 13th March 2018 for MCA’s written response to Vodafone’s submissions.


back to index

International News


Cullen International
       Tariff transparency and contractual changes – AGCOM fines Wind Tre €2.32m
AGCOM, the Italian national regulatory authority, has fined Wind Tre €2.32m for violating transparency requirements in relation to unilateral consumer contract changes. Wind Tre breached the obligations set out in the Italian Electronic Communication Code 259/2003 (ECC), and in AGCOM’s Consumer Contract Regulation and the AGCOM's rules on general tariff transparency [read more – subscription required].

Advanced Television     UK consults on content portability
The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has launched a consultation on its proposed approach to enforcement of the EU Portability Regulation which ends on January 31st 2018 [read more].

Telecoms.com  UK Gov attempts to modernise telco law with new hire
The UK Government is advertising a new position to ensure telco legislation is modernised following Brexit; knowing about the telco industry is not necessary though [read more].

Telecoms.com  Internet giants given choice: help fight terrorism or face tax bombardment
The battle between internet giants and government has carried over from 2017 to 2018, as UK Government warns of a tax blitz unless citizen data is opened up to intelligence and enforcement agencies [read more].

Telecoms.com  India launches telecom policy consultation aiming for $100bn investment
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has kick-started a consultation process to develop its National Telecom Policy for 2018, intended to launch India up the global digital rankings [read more].

Cullen International       Telecom Italia and Vodafone margin squeeze in the bulk SMS market 2017
The Italian national competition authority (NCA), AGCOM, fined Telecom Italia (TIM) and Vodafone respectively €3.7m and €5.8m for having abused their dominance by applying a margin squeeze in the bulk SMS market [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       ANCOM consults on lowering MTRs to the level of pure LRIC EU average
The Romanian regulator ANCOM is consulting until January 31, 2018 on lower mobile termination rates (MTRs) of €0.84/min (VAT excluded) based on a benchmark with EU members states that apply pure LRIC [read more – subscription required].

Advanced Television     Tech giants’ net neutrality legal challenge
The Internet Association, an industry group that represents the US’s largest technology companies, and whose mission is to foster innovation, promote economic growth, and empower people through the free and open Internet, plans to join upcoming legal action against the Federal Communications Commission over its repeal of so-called net neutrality rules [read more].

EurActiv               EU scrambles to finish digital single market in 2018
The European Commission has set a tough goal for 2018 of wrapping up legal negotiations on all 25 of the digital single market proposals that it announced since 2015. It will be an uphill battle: there are 13 files still open and fights are simmering over several contentious issues [read more].

Cullen International       France: global revenues of electronic communications fall, but roaming revenues in France increase
Almost one year after the ARCEP chairman stated that the telecoms sector was “progressing towards stabilisation”, revenues of French telecom operators are again slightly down [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       MEPs supportive of Free Flow of Data Regulation but split on portability
Members of the lead Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee in the European Parliament largely welcomed the proposed Free Flow of Data Regulation (FFDR). However, whereas right-wing (EPP and ECR) and liberal (ALDE) political groups support self-regulation for data portability, left-wing groups (S&D and Greens) are in favour of addressing portability through regulation [read more – subscription required].

Total Telecom   Ofcom reveals the UK's worst performing operators for customer service
TalkTalk was named as the network provider with the most customer complaints in the broadband category, while Vodafone topped the list of mobile operators [read more].

Ofcom  Investigation into BT’s compliance with a statutory information request
On 25 January 2018 Ofcom issued its Confirmation Decision to BT finding that it had contravened requirements to provide information in two separate statutory information requests issued as part of the ongoing Wholesale Local Access market review [read more].


Policy Tracker
    UK regulator says there is no need for change in licensing law for 5G
Ofcom said it was also planning to launch a consultation on sharing in the 3.8-4.2GHz band later this year [read more – subscription required].

Total Telecom   Vodafone, Ericsson and King’s College conduct successful UK 5G tests
Vodafone UK and Ericsson have partnered with King’s College London to showcase the first standalone pre-standard 5G demonstration in a 3.5GHz spectrum field test. The test took place in central London, and was the first instance of 5G testing working independently from existing 4G Network technologies anywhere in the UK [read more].

Total Telecom   Nokia, T-Mobile and Intel complete 5G testing in the US
Nokia has joined forces with T-Mobile and Intel to complete its latest round of ambitious 5G testing. The group reached a major milestone in their 5G collaboration by bringing a 28 GHz outdoor 5G commercial radio system on air in the busy downtown corridor of Bellevue in Washington State, according to a company release [read more].

Policy Tracker    UK regulator eyes spectrum sharing in 3.8-4.2GHz band
Plans are in their early stages but Ofcom is looking at the possibility of granting industrial and commercial users direct access to spectrum in the satellite band. The regulator is also due to announce its plans for coverage obligations in its auction of 700MHz spectrum in the coming months [read more – subscription required].

Policy Tracker    Longer spectrum licences don’t necessarily drive operator investment, study finds
Regulators seeking to balance flexibility in telecoms licensing with some degree of certainty for investors about spectrum tenure are considering the issue of licence duration, Ovum analysts say. All things being equal, a longer licence does offer more certainty but it's by no means the only factor in minimising investment risk [read more – subscription required].

Total Telecom   Ofcom readies itself for 5G auction, despite legal challenges
Litigation brought by EE and Three has delayed the auction, but Ofcom has now set out a timetable in preparation for the auction. The UK's telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced plans to press ahead with its 5G spectrum auction, despite a persisting legal challenge from Three [read more].

Cullen International       French government trades spectrum auctions in exchange for stronger commitments on mobile coverage
The French government announced an agreement with the mobile network operators (MNOs) to accelerate mobile coverage and enhance coverage quality: in return for commitments to invest in network coverage, the government will organise a call for tender to assign the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2GHz licences for a 10-year period without going through an auction process [read more – subscription required].

Policy Tracker    Mobile industry accused of inconsistency over 5G power limits for WRC-19
ITU-R Task Group 5/1 (TG5/1), which is developing sharing parameters for Agenda Item 1.13 of WRC-19 – the 5G agenda item – has set forward a representative base station power level of 48 dBm as the power level that should be used in sharing studies on the expected deployment of new mobile services in the 28 GHz band [read more – subscription required].


Advanced Television     Survey: Consumers still want more from streaming services
The survey dives into how streaming services can maintain a competitive edge within a crowded landscape. The findings reveal that despite the popularity of streaming services (two-thirds of consumers use a streaming service – the same amount of consumers who subscribe to cable), consumers are not satisfied with their viewing experience [read more].

Advanced Television     Premier League rights auction imminent
The first domestic bids for the English Premier League football auction are scheduled to be tabled on February 8th, according to a report from equity analysts at Berenberg Bank. The bids will cover various options covering three seasons from 2019-2020. The bank is interested because of the potential impact the costs will have on Sky’s and BT’s 2020 financial year [read more].

Advanced Television     DTT in Portugal falls short of expectations
DTT in Portugal has fallen short of expectations both in commercial terms and the TV offer, according to a study published by the National Communications Authority (Anacom) [read more].

Advanced Television     Analyst: French say ‘non’ to Netflix
Netflix has yet to conquer the hearts and minds of the French, according to research from media analyst firm Ampere Analysis. Despite a global march to SVoD viewing on services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, France solidly bucks the trend with the lowest uptake of SVoD among countries surveyed [read more].

Telecoms.com  Sky moves to ditch the dish
UK premium TV and video content provider Sky has indicated it wants to allow access to all its services over broadband, hence removing the need for a satellite dish [read more].

Total Telecom   Netflix looks at new partnerships with ISPs as profits boom in Q4 2017
In 2017, Netflix signed agreements with Deutsche Telekom and Verizon, as it sort to build bridges with network providers. Online streaming giant Netflix posted a very strong financial report on Monday, as the firm revealed a 32.6% year-on-year jump in revenues to $3.286 billion in Q4 2017 [read more].


Advanced Television
     Analyst: “40% chance Apple will buy Netflix”
An analyst report suggests that tech giant Apple could be preparing a bid for SVoD giant Netflix [read more].

Advanced Television     Tele2 acquires Com Hem for €672m
Swedish multiplay telco Tele2 and multiplay broadband operator Com Hem have agreed to merge, creating a leading integrated connectivity provider. The merger will be implemented by Tele2 absorbing Com Hem [read more].

Cullen International       UK competition authority provisionally concludes that Fox’s bid to take over Sky cannot go through as such
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) came to the provisional conclusion that 21 Century Fox’s (Fox) bid to gain 100% control of Sky cannot go through because of media plurality concerns, in particular in relation to news [read more – subscription required].

Total Telecom   Orange quashes talk of merger with DT and Portugal Telecom
Recent stories in the press had linked Orange to a possible merger with Deutsche Telekom and subsequently a potential acquisition of Portugal Telecom. European giant, Orange, has rebuffed recent speculation in the press over its reported intention to acquire or merge with one of its key competitors [read more].

Total Telecom   Vodafone Greece expands footprint with €118 million CYTA Hellas acquisition
Vodafone Greece will add 300,000 new broadband customers to its portfolio, if the deal completes later this month [read more].


Advanced Television     UK consumers: “Broadband ads dishonest and misleading”
Research by broadband comparison website Broadband Genie has discovered over two thirds (62%) of the public do not feel broadband advertising is honest; while 30% believe they have been misled by it [read more].

Total Telecom   BT launches UK's first guaranteed 100Mbps service
BT has become the first broadband retailer to offer a guaranteed speed of 100Mbps to its customers, according to a company statement [read more].

Telecoms.com  WhatsApp takes a step into the world of business
WhatsApp has launched a business version of the popular messaging app, just to make sure businesses don’t actually have to talk to those pesky customers face-to-face [read more].

European Commission  New measures to boost key competences and digital skills, as well as the European dimension of education
To follow up on the Gothenburg Summit, the European Commission has today adopted new initiatives to improve key competences and digital skills of European citizens, to promote common values and pupils' awareness of the functioning of the European Union [read more].

Ofcom  Ofcom accredits broadbanddeals.co.uk price comparison service
Ofcom has accredited the price comparison service broadbanddeals.co.uk, which helps UK consumers to find broadband packages that are suitable for them [read more].

Advanced Television     AT&T chief calls for ‘Internet Bill of Rights’
Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO, says that Congressional action is needed to establish an ‘Internet Bill of Rights’ that applies to all Internet companies and guarantees neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all Internet users [read more].


  Consultation: Ofcom Diversity and Inclusion Programme 2018-2022
Ofcom’s Diversity and Inclusion Programme explains how diversity and equality are essential to how it operates, both as an employer and as the UK’s communications regulator [read more].


Cullen International
       Norway considers move to alternate day letter delivery
The Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications is consulting on proposals to move to a reduced frequency of delivery. The proposal would see the delivery frequency change throughout the country from five days per week to delivery every other day. However, it is unlikely that the changes could be implemented until 2020 [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       Belgium - Parcel and express mail segment to allow a growth of the postal market despite continuous fall of letter volumes
While letter post continues to decline in Belgium, parcels and express services are still growing so that the postal market overall has expanded by 0.9% to reach a total turnover of €2.5bn in 2016 [read more – subscription required].

Post & Parcel     Royal Mail: Online shoppers in the UK make 80% of their retail purchases online
Online shoppers in the UK make 80% of their purchases (excluding groceries) online, up from 74% last year, according to a study commission by Royal Mail [read more].

Post & Parcel     PostNL extends parcel and letter machine pilot
PostNL has expanded its testing of parcel and letter machines to the city of Breda [read more].

Post & Parcel     ASDA installs automated parcel tower in Manchester Store
Asda has introduced an automated parcel tower at its Trafford Park store in Greater Manchester [read more].

Cullen International       Commission proposes new rules to better ensure the safety of products sold and delivered in Europe
The European Commission has proposed new European rules to guarantee the safety of products sold and delivered in Europe. In particular, a draft Regulation on the compliance and enforcement of EU product legislation includes an obligation for the seller to designate and indicate on the postal consignment the “person responsible for compliance information”, when the goods have been purchased online [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       Belgium: a new postal licensing regime has been adopted
A new postal licensing regime has been adopted in Belgium. A new postal law, adopted on January 18, 2018, aims in particular to facilitate the opening of the postal market by removing some licensing obligations [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       Plans to make the Belgian parcel delivery market more transparent and convenient
The Belgian regulator BIPT has published its views on how to make parcel delivery services more transparent and convenient for Belgian online users and merchants. In particular, the regulator proposes to review the rules related to the size and the features of individual mailboxes so that delivery service providers can provide their (new) services optimally [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       Poste Italiane fined €23m for margin squeeze and fidelity-inducing rebates
The Italian national competition authority (NCA), AGCM, has fined incumbent Poste Italiane (PI) €23.1m for having abused its dominance in the wholesale and retail bulk mail markets [read more – subscription required].

The Globe and Mail        Liberals opt out of Canada Post overhaul
In a move bound to frustrate reform advocates of both the left and the right, the Liberal government announced that it has decided not to proceed with major changes to Canada Post [read more]. 

back to index


The information contained in this newsletter is for general information purposes only and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the information contained therein. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.