March 2018: Highlights and Activities

International Meetings attended by MCA representatives

SMP Guidelines Workshop
An MCA official attended a workshop organised by the consultancy firm WIK in Brussels on the 27th of March, dealing with the review of the SMP Guidelines initiated by the EU Commission in 2017.
The event brought together various stakeholders, including the EU Commission, BEREC representatives, experts from National Regulatory Authorities and the academic field and industry players, to discuss the recently published ‘draft’ revised SMP Guidelines by the EU Commission. The draft Guidelines follow a consultation exercise carried out by the Commission last year and a thorough discussion at BEREC level as to what needs to be changed in order to ensure effective and robust market reviews, given the developments in electronic communications service markets.
The general sentiment expressed during the event was a positive one, with stakeholders welcoming most of the Commission’s proposed changes. BEREC also expressed its general agreement with the revised Guidelines, although it did point out that NRAs would still face challenges in the future, particularly when it comes to determine joint dominance.
The Commission also informed the audience that it intends publishing the final version of the Guidelines by the end of May or the beginning of June 2018.

RSM - GovSatCom Expert Working Group Meeting
An MCA representative participated in the meeting of the European Commission Expert Group on Governmental Satellite Communications held on the 26th of March 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.  During this meeting, delegations from the European Union’s Member States were provided with updates concerning Governmental Satellite Communications.

BEREC - Market and Economic Analysis Working Group - Kick-off Meeting
The MCA participated in the MEA EWG kick-off meeting held in Brussels, Belgium, on the 22nd of March 2018. The discussion during the meeting focused on the planned work streams for 2018, outlining in more detail their scope and main deliverables. For 2018, the MEA EWG will focus on three main areas, namely:
(i) physical and passive infrastructures, and the possibility to define a separate market for these network elements under specific circumstances;
(ii) the geographic segmentation of markets, and the impact of sub geographic markets on market reviews;
(iii)the role of the ‘data economy’ and its impact on electronic communications sector.
Experts from European NRAs will be involved in these workstreams throughout the year and will have an opportunity to meet on a regular basis.

ERGP - Working Group Meeting - Cross-border Parcel Delivery
An MCA official attended the ERGP meeting regarding the Cross-Border Parcel Regulation in Brussels, Belgium on the 15th March 2018. The scope of the meeting was to discuss on a number of articles but we focused mainly on Article 4 which deals on the data collection process.  During the meeting a number of points were raised to try and tackle as much as possible the various issues or scenarios that NRAs can be faced with when requesting the data. During the meeting, a time plan was provided regarding Article 4 where by June this Article has to be implemented.

Cullen International - 'Mastering European Telecoms Regulation' - Training Course
The MCA participated in the‘Mastering European Telecoms Regulation’ training course. The purpose of this training course was to introduce how telecoms regulation function in a European setting. This course was delivered over a 3 day period in which members of the Cullen team gave numerous seminars on items related to the electronic communications market.
Day 1: Historical background on telecommunications and the liberalisation process, an introduction to the marketing analysis process and the harmonisation of such procedures across EU member states.
Day 2: Introduction to Access in both Fixed and Mobile markets and an introduction to FTRs (Market 1) and MTRs (Market 2). This was then followed by a presentation on why fixed and mobile termination markets are regulated and processes that take place during Market Analysis. The following presentation was on how frequencies function and how spectrum is managed. The final presentation of the day was dedicated towards new mobile technologies such as 5G.
Day 3: The first seminar of the day focused on net neutrality and how European service providers introduced features in their plans with zero rating functionalities on certain applications. This was then followed by a seminar on International mobile roaming and how 'Roam Like At Home' functions. This seminar concluded with an overview of a number of EU initiatives as well as an overview of the new European framework.

BEREC Training on Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications
An official represented the MCA in the BEREC NRA training in Brussels, Belgium on the 13th and 14th March 2018. This course is divided into four sessions with the third training session held this March. The BEREC NRA training programme provided training on the regulatory framework and other issues related to BEREC activities.

NGN EWG: PT Workshop on "Pricing for Access to Infrastructure and Civil Works
An MCA official is to attend NGN meeting regarding Pricing for access to infrastructure and civil works in Brussels, Belgium 12th March 2018.  The aim is to implement the Broad band cost reduction directive to be adopted by Member States, its intended use is to reduce the cost of high speed broadband deployment by increasing transparency and enabling access to existing physical infrastructure. During the meeting there were several presentations outlining the way pricing was being determined by the different NRA’s.

34th BEREC Plenary Meetings
On the 8th and 9th March 2018, the MCA participated in the 34th BEREC plenary meetings held in Bratislava, in the Slovak Republic.  A number of documents were discussed and adopted at the plenary meetings.
BEREC published its preliminary analysis on the matter of intra-EU calls with a view to providing feedback to the European institutions in the ongoing discussions on the European Electronic Communications Code. BEREC, for the first time, presented data on the impact of Roam Like at Home, showing the effects on the markets in terms of volumes, revenues and wholesale rates.  The BEREC Board of Regulators also adopted a study on 5G commissioned by BEREC and conducted by DotEcon and Axon.  The plenary meetings were also used to discuss ongoing Net Neutrality cases in various jurisdictions.

BEREC Heads' Internal Workshop
On 7th March 2018 in Bratislava, Slovakia, BEREC held an internal workshop on 5G and Internet of Things to outline the related security issues and discuss 5G implications on development of new services. BEREC has made 5G a strategic priority for the next three years. The aim is to enable European scale solutions to help reap the benefits of early and coherent implementation of 5G: innovation, productivity and growth in the internal market.
During the event, the draft BEREC study “Implications of 5G deployment and future business models” was presented.  The workshop was jointly organized with the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA).

EU - Postal DIrective Committee - Workshop on Developments in the Postal Future
On 7th March, the Malta Communications Authority attended a workshop, organised by the European Commission, whose theme was the future of parcel delivery in Brussels, Belgium. Copenhagen Economics was chosen by the Commission to carry out an extensive survey on the main developments in the postal sector between 2013-2016. Work on the survey began in September 2017 and during the workshop CE gave a presentation on the interim results.
Furthermore the European Parliament Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee requested a study on parcel delivery services. This study will be carried out by WIK, a German consultancy, and interim findings will be expected in September 2018. While the CE study looked backwards in order to identify trends over a 4-year period WIK aims to engage as many stakeholders as possible (such as consumers, operators, e-retailers, regulators, etc.) in order to create a comprehensive picture of how cross-border parcel markets currently work and how to improve them. WIK will, based on the findings, be making evidence-based policy recommendations to cover existing and future users’ needs.
The upcoming Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery was also discussed during the workshop. The discussion, regarding information collection processes prescribed by the Regulation, was moderated by the European Regulators Group for Postal Services (ERGP). Several operators present gave their views on these processes and the Commission was also able to provide clarifications where necessary.
A copy of the presentations delivered during the workshop may be downloaded from the European Commission’s website

Fourth Smart Women Meeting in time for International Women's Day
MCA officials participated in the fourth meeting of the Smart Women project. It took place in Timisoara, Romania on 6th & 7th March, paving the way for the training programme to start. Stay tuned for calls for participants in the training course!
Smart Women is an Erasmus+ strategic partnership on vocation education and training, led by the MCA, where in a programme to train women who have an entrepreneurial idea or a business and basic digital skills in e-commerce. The women will be able to bring their business online, boosting their chances to increase their customer base and take part in cross-border trade, benefiting from the digital single market.
This project has a female driven focus, which will help promote women’s participation in the workforce by creating work that does not force people to choose between their families and work but creates work and careers that can complement or even work with family lifestyles.
Currently the project partners are working on the methodology. The course and the modules will be on a Moodle platform. The total course will be about 40 hours, and the students will be evaluated by a quiz. A flip learning method is applied where students will study the content before attending the course. The modules offer additional content, which will allow students to delve in deeper into the relevant topics.
The training programme has five modules already defined:
(i) Planning your business
(ii) Promoting your business online
(iii) Creating digital content
(iv) Online security
(v) E-commerce
The partners evaluate the modules and will implement any changes if needed and review them. After the modules are finalized, the project partners will start promoting the course and recruiting participants. For more info visit

Enhancing Consumer Protection in the EU - Preserving Consumers' Rights in the Digital Society Conference
An MCA representative attended a conference on Enhancing Consumer Protection in the EU, which was held in Brussels, Belgium on the 6th March 2018. The conference delved into the latest and forthcoming legislative initiatives concerning the protection of European consumers, redress mechanisms available to European consumers and the benefits and shortcomings of such mechanisms, the difficulties consumers and businesses are facing when engaging in cross-border eCommerce, and the challenges of the successful integration of a common level of protection into the digital space.

back to index

MCA Publications & Website Uploads

MCA demands that postal operators improve their procedures
Published On: Mar 28th 2018

The impact of Roam Like At Home
Published On: Mar 27th 2018

Key market Indicators for electronic communications and post: Q1 2013 to Q4 2017
Published On: Mar 26th 2018

The 112 Emergency Service – More Accurate Location Tracking
Published On: Mar 26th 2018

EU approves new rules for cross-border parcel delivery costs to boost sales
Published On: Mar 21st 2018

World Consumer Day - MCA and MCCAA will collaborate on consumer online shopping training
Published On: Mar 15th 2018

The Malta Cloud Forum announces its first initiative for 2018
Published On: Mar 15th 2018

5G, Net Neutrality and International Roaming dominate BEREC’s public debriefing
Published On: Mar 15th 2018

Study: The Implications of 5G Deployment on Future Business Models
Published On: Mar 15th 2018

Invitation to follow the public debriefing of the 34th BEREC Plenary Meeting
Published On: Mar 12th 2018

Malta-Digital Innovation Hub selected to participate in a fully-funded training programme
Published On: Mar 12th 2018

ERGP Press Release 8th March 2018
Published On: Mar 8th 2018

‘Service Providers’ Repair Timeframes and Compensation’
Published On: Mar 8th 2018

MCA Contributes to the Dialogue about Making Digital Marketplaces Fairer
Published On: Mar 7th 2018

Another step towards removing barriers to eCommerce
Published On: Mar 7th 2018

Showcasing the Future of Wireless Communications
Published On: Mar 7th 2018

BEREC conducts a preliminary analysis of intra-EU calls
Published On: Mar 6th 2018

MCA Publishes it’s Strategy Update 2018 – 2020 and Annual Plan 2018
Published On: Mar 6th 2018

Encouraging findings regards quality of service on Malta’s pay-TV sector
Published On: Mar 6th 2018

Delivering the Digital Revolution: Will mobile infrastructure keep up with the rising demand?
Published On: Mar 6th 2018

Assignment process – Additional spectrum for wireless broadband
Published On: Mar 6th 2018

Consumer complaints rise by 11% in the last 6 months of 2017
Published On: Mar 6th 2018

back to index

MCA Events

Locally developed solutions recognised at the MCA eBusiness Awards 2017
The 7th edition of the MCA eBusiness Awards was held last night at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta. These awards have consistently showcased some of the best solutions developed by locally-based ICT organisations which, amongst other attributes combine creativity, information technology, as well as business or social innovation. The eBusiness Awards have provided a platform for increased visibility to all participantsand an excellent means to credit the efforts and unique talents demonstrated by all those involved in the rollout of such innovative business initiatives. This year 24 solutions from eight different categories made it to the final.

In his address, the Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri highlighted the significance of these awards and emphasized their contribution in encouraging the growth of eBusiness in Malta as one of the key drivers of the Maltese economy. “This gives me the affirmation that our strive to steer our economy into a modern digital era is on the right track and is already producing results,” he said.

This year the eBusiness Awards received a prestigious public acknowledgement from an Internet pioneer, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist, Dr Vint Cerf, who is widely known as one of the fathers of the Internet. Dr. Cerf delighted the audience with a recorded message wherein he congratulated the winners and recognised the relevance of these Awards.

The following is a recap of the winners on the night:

  • Vodafone Malta Foundation and Paulo Freire Institute with their App ‘Iċ-Ċavetta’, developed by BB Associates Ltd (Maltaserv), won the Best App category. This app is a Maltese literacy toolkit targeted at adults and youths facing social exclusion and employment challenges.
  • Mi-C3 won the award for the best B2B application with their ‘Affectli’ platform. Affectli is a revolutionary IoT contextual collaboration platform that supports the entire operational environment of organisations, people and things, including how these relate to those outside, and around the core: business; customers; vendors; suppliers; regulators and stakeholders.
  • Fablab Valletta received the award for Best eCommerce site (B2C) with their ‘FabValletta’ website developed by Growth Gurus. This website enables people to learn, invent and innovate in a collaborative and global network.
  • The Best eGovernment initiative went to Mater Dei Hospital for their CPASms developed by Cursor Ltd. CPASms is an electronic messaging system, which send out reminders about outpatients’ appointments via SMS.
  • Luxemburg Airport achieved the Best Use of Technology in Business Transformation Award, with their product developed by ICON. This allows travellers arriving and departing from Lux-Airport to plan their trips better, decide on the best choice in transportation to get to the airport and make the most of their time while at the airport.
  • The Best ICT Academic Project with an eBusiness Theme was won by Ms. Francesca Gauci, a University of Malta student, with her dissertation; ‘The Effect of Local News on the Maltese Stock Market: An Empirical Evaluation using Machine Learning,’ submitted to the Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy.
  • Altaro won the award for Best Tech Start-up. Altaro VM Backup is a hassle-free virtual machine backup software solution for Hyper-V and VMware.
  • And, finally, The Best Social Media Campaign (50% people’s choice) went to LovinMalta for their audacious and highly successful April Fools' campaign.

The MCA congratulates all winners, finalists and participants and looks forward to more innovative eBusiness solutions being rolled out in the coming year.

back to index

Media participation by MCA


29.03.18              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (Fault Repair Times - Yanika Bugeja)

22.03.18              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (BeSmartOnline! - Mark Spiteri)

15.03.18              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (World Consumer Day Pt.2 - Yanika Bugeja)

08.03.18              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (World Consumer Day Pt.1 - Yanika Bugeja)

01.03.18              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (MCA's Remit & Common Complaints Q1&Q2 2017 - Yanika Bugeja)


20.03.18              ‘Ta' Kullhadd' – RTK
                             (Roaming - Yanika Bugeja)

06.03.18              ‘Ta' Kullhadd' – RTK
                             (Women in ICT - Tessabelle Camilleri, Deborah Pisani, Rachel Baldacchino & Isabel Fereday)

back to index

Legal Updates

Pending Lawsuits

  • 1st March 2018: Vodafone et vs MCA re contestation of Legal Interception dues – pending before the First Hall Civil Court – adjourned to the 19th April 2018 for final judgement.
  • 13th March 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 7th May 2018 for continuation of evidence.
  • 13th March 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 continuation for the 7th May 2018.
  • 13th March 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 7th May 2018 for MCA’s evidence.
  • 13th March 2018: Vodafone vs MCA before ART – contestation of MCA’s retail market decision 2015 – adjourned to 7th May 2018 for MCA’s written response to Vodafone’s submissions.
back to index

International News


Cullen International     EU bans geo-blocking but not for audio-visual and other copyright-related services
The EU adopted on February 27, 2018 a regulation that will prohibit unjustified geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination by traders in the EU based on the customer’s nationality or place of residence. However, the Regulation will not apply to audio-visual and other copyright-related services such as IPTV and music streaming [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International      European Parliament lead committee votes against fully harmonising legal guarantee periods in contracts for sales of goods
The lead Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee of the European Parliament voted against fully harmonising legal guarantee periods in business-to-consumer (B2C) contracts for the sale of goods. Consequently, EU member states would retain the possibility to maintain in their national laws guarantee periods longer than two-year minimum set at EU-level [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       EU General Data Protection Regulation - Guidelines on automated decision-making and profiling
The Article 29 Working Party (WP29) of national data protection authorities has adopted guidelines on the conditions under which companies can use automated decision-making and profiling under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       Spanish competition authority opens investigation into possible anticompetitive agreement in the TV advertising market
The Spanish national competition authority (NCA) has opened an investigation into possible anticompetitive agreements by Astremedia and Mediaset, the only two companies active in the Spanish TV advertising market [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       European Commission repeats that no EU regulation will be adopted on fake news
During a workshop in Brussels on 'fake news and disinformation online' Giuseppe Abbamonte (Director, Directorate I Media Policy, European Commission), clearly said that there will be no regulation to tackle fake news at the EU level [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       European Commission adopts recommendation on the fight against illegal content online
The European Commission has adopted a new recommendation with concrete measures to be taken by internet companies to remove illegal content online. It foresees that online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter will need to remove terrorist content within one hour from when they receive an official referral [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       Orange Polska refusal to supply 2011
The European Commission fined Telekomunikacja Polska (TP) €127m for having abused of its dominant position in the wholesale markets for broadband access and for unbundled access to the local loop (LLU) from 2005 to 2009 [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       Telecoms Code: progress on spectrum, end user rights still under discussion
The European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the contentious issue of minimum spectrum licence duration: 15 years with the possibility to extend up to 20 years. Parliament and the Council also agreed on a largely voluntary spectrum peer review [read more – subscription required].

Total Telecom   Mobile roaming charges could return post Brexit
Since the implementation of the "roam like at home" initiative, LTE data roaming traffic has surged by 600-800%. British mobile phone customers travelling in Europe could be hit by costly roaming charges again, once the UK leaves the EU in 2019, according to reports in the press [read more].

Cullen International       ARCEP proposes actions to limit the impact of terminal equipment on open internet
The French regulator, ARCEP, published a new report on the limitations terminal equipment and associated software (operating systems, browsers, app stores, etc.) have on open access to the internet [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       Ofcom to investigate whether Three and Vodafone obey net neutrality rules
Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, started an investigation on March 6, 2018 to assess whether Three and Vodafone comply with the EU net neutrality rules [read more – subscription required].  Washington State attempts to reinstate net neutrality rules
Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill which aimed at countering FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and re-establishing net neutrality rules in the state of Washington [read more].

Cullen International       European Commission clears broadband access proposals re-notified by Finnish regulator (markets 3a and 3b/2014
The Finnish regulator, FICORA, has won the European Commission’s clearance, subject to comments, of its re-notified analysis of the wholesale markets for local and central access provided at a fixed location (markets 3a and 3b/2014) [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       Commission and BEREC disagree with asymmetric Slovak MTRs and mark-up for operator size
The European Commission recommended the Slovak regulator (RÚ) to amend or withdraw its draft proposal for asymmetric MTRs and a mark-up for operator size (market 2/2014) on February 22, 2014 [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       European Parliament rapporteur issues draft report on the Free Flow of Data Regulation
The Parliament rapporteur for the Regulation has proposed changes to the Commission and Council positions [read more – subscription required].

EurActiv               EU telecoms regulators examine whether app stores restrict internet access
European telecoms regulators are investigating whether app stores restrict internet access by limiting their users’ choice of content, the chair of the umbrella group of EU watchdogs said on 14 March [read more].

Cullen International       European Parliament adopts regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services
On March 13, 2018, the European Parliament plenary formally approved the proposed Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       Spanish parcel delivery companies fined for customer sharing in the business market
The Spanish national competition authority, CNMC, has fined nine parcel delivery and courier companies a total of €68m for customer sharing. It granted immunity from fines to the tenth participant, General Logistics Spain, who confessed the infringement. The decision is not public yet [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       WhatsApp says no to sharing with parent Facebook
The Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK has announced WhatsApp has agreed not to share user information with parent-company Facebook until the process is compliant with GDPR [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       BEREC issues opinion on European Commission’s draft SMP guidelines
BEREC’s opinion on the European Commission’s draft revised significant market power (SMP) guidelines suggests certain changes to the Commission’s text without seeking a major revision [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       Italian competition authority orders suspension of alleged price fixing cartel by main telecoms operators
The Italian national competition authority, AGCOM, has adopted interim measures requiring telecoms operators Fastweb, TIM, Vodafone, Wind Tre and industry association Assotelecomunicazioni (Asstel) to suspend their alleged price fixing agreement that infringes 101 TFEU [read more – subscription required].

European Commission  Rules against unjustified geoblocking enter into force
The new rules against unjustified geoblocking entered into force on 22 March 2018 and will be a reality for citizens as of 3 December 2018 – they will be able to find the best deals online when buying goods and services across the EU without being discriminated based on nationality and residence [read more].

Advanced Television     EC proposes GAFA sales tax
The European Commission is proposing a 3% tax on turnover for tech companies as an answer to their perceived profit tax avoidance through choosing low tax countries for all their billing no matter where the sale. The EC estimates the move would raise over €5 billion a year [read more].

EurActiv               EU plans to pull ‘free’ digital services under consumer protection rules
A major overhaul of EU consumer rules is set to extend the bloc’s existing laws to services that collect users’ data as payment instead of money, according to a leaked draft of the proposal that EURACTIV has obtained [read more].

Cullen International       Briefing on setting up the European Data Protection Board
With just ten weeks until the new European Data Protection Board (EDPB) becomes operational as part of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Cullen International hosted a briefing on the status of setting up the EDPB by one of the key architects involved, Isabelle Vereecken, of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS). Ms Vereecken presented the work that her team is doing to establish the new EDPB secretariat inside the EDPS [read more – subscription required].

Advanced Television     UK sets out high-speed broadband USO
High-speed broadband connectivity for the entire UK has moved one step closer following the laying of legislation setting the design of the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) [read more].

Total Telecom   European Commission backs Ofcom on Openreach wholesale regulation
Europe's highest regulatory body, The European Commission, has backed Ofcom's plans to regulate wholesale access to BT Openreach's broadband network [read more].

European Commission  Travel with your digital subscriptions: Joint statement by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU
From 1 April 2018 onwards, Europeans will be able to access the online content that they have subscribed to at home, wherever they are in the EU [read more].

Cullen International       Despite additional guidance the European Commission expects joint dominance cases to remain rare
According to Anthony Whelan (European Commission, DG Connect, director of directorate B), the European Commission expects joint dominance cases to continue being relatively rare even after more guidance on how to address oligopolistic market structures will be provided to NRAs in the revised significant market power (SMP) guidelines [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       France publishes draft law to tackle fake news
France has published a proposed law to fight against “mass disinformation” during election periods. The text shows that the government is trying to reach the delicate balance between imposing more responsibility on online platforms and the need to preserve freedom of speech [read more – subscription required].


Ofcom  Ofcom approves six companies to take part in spectrum auction
Ofcom has announced the companies that have qualified to take part in the upcoming spectrum auction [read more].

Total Telecom   US to hold 5G spectrum auctions in November 2018
FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, told attendees at the Mobile World Congress that the US must seek a "light touch" regulatory framework to enable swift development of next generation networks [read more].

Ofcom  Enabling 5G in the UK
5G is the next generation of mobile technology. It is expected to deliver faster and better mobile broadband, and to enable more revolutionary uses in sectors such as manufacturing, transport and healthcare. As the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom has a role to play alongside Government and industry in enabling the development and rollout of 5G, and unlocking its benefits [read more].

Cullen International       MWC roundtable with MEPs, regulators and industry on 5G
During the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona, GSMA and the European Internet Forum organised a roundtable with the members of the European Parliament (MEPs), heads of NRAs, European Commission officials and senior representatives of the industry. The subsequent discussions were under Chatham House rule, but the opening remarks were not [read more – subscription required].

PolicyTracker     Mobile operators attend 28GHz band meeting for the first time
Operators from countries such as South Korea, Japan and the US attended a meeting held by a group that backs 28 GHz for the first time. Mexico’s regulator was also represented [read more – subscription required].

Ofcom  Consultation: Improving mobile coverage - Proposals for coverage obligations in the award of the 700MHz spectrum band
Ofcom has a duty to ensure the wide availability of communications services to citizens and consumers. Current levels of mobile coverage are not meeting consumers’ needs, and its recent Connected Nations 2017 report showed that mobile coverage is particularly poor in rural areas, including in the Nations [read more].

PolicyTracker     Poland to amend telecoms law ahead of spectrum auctions
A senior Polish digital affairs official says the country’s 5G contests and the redistribution of spectrum in the 900 and 1800MHz bands mean Poland’s telecommunications laws have to be amended. The changes will include the ability for telecoms regulator UKE to reshuffle spectrum on its own if operators fail to reach an agreement [read more – subscription required].

PolicyTracker     US legislators agree to allow the FCC to make spectrum available again
The passage of RAY BAUM’s Act (H.R. 4986) follows bipartisan bicameral agreement on spectrum-related legislation [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       BEREC consults on the application of the EU net neutrality provisions and their influence on 5G deployment
BEREC has started its evaluation of the EU net neutrality provisions and asks operators how the deployment of 5G is influenced by the current rules. BEREC is concerned about not being a part of the peer review mechanism that is part of the draft European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) [read more – subscription required].  Europe gets closer to 5G spectrum harmonisation
The Electronic Communications Committee has approved a set of recommendations to harmonise the 3.4-3.8GHz and 26GHz bands for 5G [read more].

PolicyTracker     ITU-R may move to milestone approach for satellite filing for NGSOs
Non-geostationary orbit satellite constellations are creating challenges for traditional regulatory processes [read more – subscription required].  Ofcom kicks off spectrum auction – here’s how it works
Ofcom has officially started the spectrum auction after months of debate and objection regarding the process and rulings on limitations [read more].

PolicyTracker     Debate over interference limits in 26GHz heats up
A major debate is taking shape for WRC-19 over concerns that mobile use of the popular 26GHz band for 5G could cause harmful interference to earth exploration satellites in 23.6-24GHz. The key is to get the emissions limits right, stakeholders say, with a significant gap between proposals from European administrations and those from the mobile industry [read more – subscription required].

PolicyTracker     Japanese mobile operators warn government over auction plans
NTT Docomo, KDDI and Softbank have cautioned against an over-reliance on bid size when making spectrum awards, as the Japanese government mulls a shake-up in frequency assignments [read more – subscription required].  FCC kicks off rural broadband auction
The FCC has given the green light for the Connect America Fund Phase II reverse auction, with the window for applications ending on March 30 [read more].

Advanced Television     BBC radio sticking with FM
The BBC will stick with FM radio for the foreseeable future rather than switch over entirely to digital [read more].

PolicyTracker     Satellite industry positive on inclusion in 5G
The satellite industry sees the mobile sector as a source of revenue growth, rather than a threat to spectrum allocations, in spite of possible future battles [read more – subscription required].

Total Telecom   South Korea edges closer to 5G auction
South Korea's Ministry of Science and Technology is set to release details of the parameters for its forthcoming 5G auction, according to the country's news agency Yonhap [read more].  FCC shows ruthless ‘use it or lose it’ attitude with 4.9GHz band
The FCC has demonstrated that, contrary to popular opinion, public sector offices can be sensible and pragmatic as it considers the options for the underused 4.9GHz spectrum band [read more].


Cullen International       Ofcom to strengthen voluntary broadband speeds codes of practice
Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, has decided to strengthen the codes of practice that fixed providers follow when informing customers about broadband speeds [read more – subscription required].

Ars Technica      Defying Pai’s FCC, Washington State passes law protecting net neutrality
The Washington state legislature has approved a net neutrality law that applies to all wired and wireless Internet providers in the state and prohibits blocking, throttling, and paid prioritisation [read more].

Ars Technica      Democrats submit plan to save net neutrality, still one vote short in Senate
Congressional Democrats has introduced legislation that would prevent the repeal of neutrality rules, but they still need more support from Republicans in order to pass the measure [read more].

Ars Technica      AT&T describes post-net neutrality plans for paid prioritisation
AT&T is talking up the benefits of paid prioritization schemes in preparation for the death of net neutrality rules while claiming that charging certain content providers for priority access won't create "fast lanes and slow lanes [read more].

Ars Technica      AT&T loses years-long quest to cripple FTC authority over telecoms
AT&T's years-long quest to avoid punishment for throttling unlimited data plans suffered a blow when a court said that AT&T cannot escape the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission [read more].     Net neutrality investigations opened by Ofcom
Ofcom announced that it has opened separate investigations into Vodafone and Three. "Traffic management practices" deployed by both companies are under scrutiny as part of the probe, including their alleged "throttling" of certain types of internet traffic when customers are roaming [read more].

European Commission  Mobile Broadband Prices in Europe 2017
The European Commission published a study which provides comprehensive data on 2017 retail prices of mobile broadband offers for consumers in the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Norway, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, and the USA. Research is based on offers' handset-based baskets and data-only baskets (laptops and tablets) [read more].

European Commission  Roaming traffic increased considerably, report shows
The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has published the International Roaming Benchmark Data Report (1 April 2017 – 30 September 2017). The new report shows that the roaming traffic increased considerably in the EU/EEA in summer 2017 compared to summer 2016 [read more].

European Commission  Final report of the High Level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation
In January 2018, the European Commission set up a high-level group of experts ("the HLEG") to advise on policy initiatives to counter fake news and disinformation spread online. The main deliverable of the HLEG was a report designed to review best practices in the light of fundamental principles, and suitable responses stemming from such principles [read more].

Ars Technica      FCC must defend net neutrality repeal in court against dozens of litigants
Twelve lawsuits filed against the Federal Communications Commission over its net neutrality repeal have been consolidated into one suit that will be heard at a federal appeals court in California [read more].  California to ban zero-rating in net neutrality mission
In what has been described as the ‘strongest net neutrality policy proposal in the country’, Senator Scott Wiener has tightened up his proposed bill to reinstate net neutrality in California, with the updated version banning zero-rating [read more].

Total Telecom   UK rolls out £67m Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme
A nationwide Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme has been launched by the UK government to help small and medium sized businesses pay for the cost of connecting to gigabit ready, Fibre to the Home (FTTH) services [read more].  Regulator to take tough line on UK snooping activities
The Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO) has released an Advisory Notice detailing how it will limit investigatory powers of the spooks and attempt to maintain privacy rights where possible [read more].

Cullen International       Facebook under investigation for illegal use of personal data
Authorities in the US and UK have opened investigations into Facebook on the use of personal data by the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which has reportedly helped the Trump campaign to profile voters during the 2016 US election [read more – subscription required].

European Commission  WiFi4EU: registration opens for EU financing of free wireless internet hotspots in public spaces
The European Commission has launched the WiFi4EU web portal. As of now, municipalities all over Europe are invited to register their details ahead of the first call for projects in mid-May, for the chance to benefit from EU financing to build free public wireless internet hotspots [read more].

CERRE   A Fresh Look at Zero-Rating
The concept of net neutrality has provoked intense debate for over a decade, and the adoption of regulation in both the US and the EU in 2015 did little to resolve this. The Federal Communications Commission overturned US net neutrality regulations in 2017, while the EU’s current rules allow for several exceptions [read more].

Advanced Television     Sky Italia, Open Fiber agree OTT deal
In a move designed to boost the take-up of fibre and pay-TV services across Italy, Sky Italia and fibre optic infrastructure provider Open Fiber have agreed a long-term deal to launch a fibre-only service from summer 2019. This fibre-only service will be available alongside Sky’s existing services [read more].


Advanced Television     5G TV broadcast test
A 5G test site for broadcasting is being set up in the Bavarian Oberland as part of the Bavarian research project ‘5G Today’ [read more].

Advanced Television     Vodafone Spain: “Losing subs better than paying for La Liga”
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the CEO of Vodafone Spain, Antonio Coimbra, has demanded a new “exploitation model” for TV football rights, as he believes the current high prices are no longer sustainable [read more].

Advanced Television     Sky, Netflix ‘pioneering’ European partnership
With the Netflix app integrated into Sky Q, and Netflix programmes promoted alongside Sky content, customers can enjoy shows such as Britannia, Billions and Big Little Lies alongside The Crown, Stranger Things and Black Mirror, as well as free-to-air TV, all on the Sky platform [read more].

Advanced Television     EU cable delivering ongoing growth
The European cable industry continues to grow steadily, with total revenues up 2.4% year on year, reaching €23.43 billion in 2017, according to IHS statistics released today by the industry’s trade association, Cable Europe, at the annual Cable Congress in Dublin [read more].

Advanced Television     Spain: Bidding starts for European football TV rights
Mediapro, holder of the European football TV rights in Spain, has started the bidding process meaning Spanish operators now have until April 6th to submit their offers [read more].

Advanced Television     Spain: OTT subs double in a year
OTT platforms are gaining momentum in Spain, having doubled the number of subscribers over the last year. A report from AIMC (a Media Research Association) has revealed that the number of OTT subscribers has risen from 9.5% of the country’s population in 2016 to 18.1% at the end of 2017 [read more].

Advanced Television     Pay-TV platforms boost Spanish TV production
The proliferation of pay-TV operators in Spain, and the increasingly growth of their penetration in the market, are boosting domestic TV production, easing the creation of new TV producers and opening a new exploitation window for traditional linear TV companies, such as Mediaset and Atresmedia [read more].

Advanced Television     WhatsApp, FB Messenger drive World Cup audience
A global survey of over 80,000 Internet users by GlobalWebIndex reveals that Latin American digital consumers are the most likely to be watching the FIFA World Cup, where 65% of Internet users will be tuning in online and on TV. Globally, over half (55%) of male Internet users watch the World Cup either online or TV; just over a third (37%) of female Internet users will watch [read more].


EurActiv               Europe postpones response to cryptocurrencies to end of year
The European Commission will assess whether new rules are needed against the “substantial speculation” of digital currencies, Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis said on 26th February [read more].

European Commission  EU-Funded Research ignites Yetta: a Next Generation Blockchain currency for the Smart Economy
Yetta advances the current state of the art for a fast, affordable and energy-efficient untraceable electronic cash system. Yetta is a spin-off from CAPS research projects funded under the EU-Horizon 2020 programme. It is sustainable by design and aligns with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) [read more].

Post & Parcel     DHL and Accenture publish blockchain trend report
DHL and Accenture have teamed up to produce a new trend report on blockchain technology’s potential to transform the logistics industry [read more].

Ars Technica      Cryptocurrencies fall as Google announces ad ban
Google is banning ads related to cryptocurrency from its vast advertising network, effective in June. The move follows a similar decision by Facebook in January [read more].

European Commission  EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum - Call for contributors
The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum is issuing a call for contributors to participate in 2 working groups [read more].


EurActiv               UPS seeks €1.7 billion damages from EU for aborted TNT buyout
US package delivery giant United Parcel Service is seeking €1.7 billion ($2.1 billion) in damages from the European Commission after it stopped the firm’s 2013 bid to take over TNT Express [read more].  TIM looks to Openreach-style separation to appease Government
Telecom Italia’s Board of Directors has given the green light to the Vivendi-tinged TIM CEO Amos Genish to start the legal separation of its fixed access network [read more].

Advanced Television     Discovery completes Scripps acquisition
Following recent DoJ clearance in the US and other regulatory acceptances, Discovery Communications has confirmed the successful completion its $14.6 billion (€12.4bn) acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive. Moving forward, the combined company will be officially known as simply: Discovery, Inc. [read more].

Total Telecom   Trump blocks Qualcomm acquisition over national security concerns
US president Donald Trump has blocked Broadcom's planned takeover of its rival Qualcomm, citing concerns over US national security. In a statement released on 12th March, Trump said that he had taken the action to block the potential of cyber espionage [read more].

Cullen International       Slovenia Broadband offers remedies to get clearance for acquisition of Pro Plus and Nova TV
The Slovenian national competition authority is consulting on the commitments submitted by cable operator Slovenia Broadband (United Group/Telemach) to obtain clearance for its proposed acquisition of Central European Media Enterprises’ (CME) broadcasting activities in Slovenia through TV broadcaster Pro Plus, and in Croatia, through TV broadcaster Nova TV [read more – subscription required].

Total Telecom   Liberty Global scraps $876m bid for Multimedia Polska
International telecoms giant Liberty Global has shelved its long standing plans to expand its offering in Poland by acquiring Multimedia Polska.


Post & Parcel     Deutsche Post DHL charging €6 fee for delivery of import shipments subject to customs tariffs
Deutsche Post DHL Group has announced that it is now charging a fee of €6 including VAT for the delivery of import consignments that are subject to customs tariffs [read more].

Cullen International       European Commission studies explore the context for future postal and parcel delivery policy

Two consultancy studies being undertaken for the European Commission will inform possible future policy changes for the regulatory framework applying to the postal and parcel delivery sectors [read more – subscription required].

Post & Parcel     European Commission approves state support to Czech Post for USO provison
The European Commission has concluded that the state support given to Czech Post for the provision of the universal service in the Czech Republic in 2013-2017 is in line with EU State aid rules [read more].

Post & Parcel     An Post introducing new prices in April
An Post has announced its new pricing which will come into effect on 4 April. In a statement sent to Post&Parcel on 7 March, An Post said that the standard stamp price will not increase from the €1 price set last year [read more].

Post & Parcel     Japan Post trialling self-driving vehicles in Tokyo
Japan Post is scheduled to start trialling the use of self-driving delivery vehicles on public roads in Tokyo. According to a report published by Japan Post on 7 March, the trials will start the following week and the postal operator has plans to introduce a fleet of self-driving vehicles by 2020 [read more].

Post & Parcel     Amazon Logistics taking proof of delivery photos
Amazon Logistics in the UK is now taking proof of delivery photos for parcels that are left unattended. In a notice posted on its UK website, the online retailer said: “Amazon Logistics (AMZL) may take a photo on delivery when a package is left unattended [read more].

Cullen International       EU consumers and SMEs need more transparent and convenient online shopping conditions, including sustainable delivery
Small e-commerce market players need transparent and convenient online selling solutions, while consumers need fair online buying conditions and better solutions for returns [read more – subscription required].

Post & Parcel     Re-imagining correspondence mail in the digital age
The US Postal Service (USPS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has published a White Paper which explores the future prospects for correspondence mail [read more].

Post & Parcel     Ireland’s online shoppers use smartphones and want clear, upfront delivery information
Almost half (48%) of shoppers in Ireland make purchases via their smartphone, compared to 33% of shoppers in the UK, according to a study commissioned by Royal Mail [read more].

Internet Retailing            Consumers say retailers do not make it easy for them to return goods
Consumers are returning more goods they bought online than ever – but more than a third say that retailers do not make it easy for them to do so [read more].

Post & Parcel     DHL launches “parcel metro” to use crowd-sourced and contract couriers
DHL eCommerce has launched a new initiative called “Parcel Metro”, which will create a ‘virtual delivery network’ of local and regional contract couriers and crowd-sourced providers who can provide flexible last mile deliveries [read more].

Post & Parcel     An Post piloting “combined eCommerce and home delivery service” for local businesses
Ireland-based postal operator An Post is a piloting a new “combined e-commerce and home delivery service”, called, which will connect local retailers with their customers “both online and in person” [read more].

Cullen International       Postal companies can leverage their trusted reputation to diversify into adjacent services
Participants in the latest Marketforce post and parcel conference in Berlin spoke about successful approaches to diversification for postal companies, the lack of transparency of digital platforms, the future of direct mail, and the remaining regulatory uncertainties in the recently adopted cross-border parcel delivery Regulation [read more – subscription required].

Ofcom  Statement and further consultation: Recovering postal regulation and consumer advocacy costs
Ofcom is responsible for regulating the UK postal market. In doing so, Ofcom incurs costs. Ofcom has published proposals to change the way in which costs are recovered in July 2017 [read more].

Swiss Info           Swiss Post and Amazon sign contract to simplify delivery
Swiss Post has confirmed that it signed a contract with e-commerce giant Amazon, months after rumours first emerged. The contract simplifies the transfer of merchandise across the Swiss border and allows the American company to bill customers the exact customs clearance fees [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.