October 2017: Highlights and Activities

International Meetings attended by MCA representatives

The Insafe Training and the Insafe Steering Committee Meetings
An MCA representative attended The Insafe Training and The Insafe Steering Committee Meeting between the 24th and 27th October 2017 in Berlin, Germany. The Insafe Training Meeting and The Steering Committee Meeting are held to facilitate experience and good practice sharing across the network and continue to enhance the collaborative learning community that has developed within Insafe. An Open Space Technology was used during the meeting as a method of encouraging interaction and debate. The discussion included best practice in campaigning and how Safer Internet Centres  can develop effective campaigns. Participants were given opportunities in order to gain a better understanding of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and what Safer Internet Centres would need to do in order to be compliant. A further detailed discussion was held in regards to challenges around the grey areas of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents and considered ways to tackle the problem.

Masterclass in European Telecommunications Regulations
Between the 24th and 26th October 2017, an MCA representative attended a training session in Brussels organised by Cullen International, an organisation specialising in regulatory intelligence.  The training mainly focused on current regulatory issues, key trends and developments in the telecommunications sector using real-life examples and case studies from the EU, while developments in the fields of broadband deployment and access regulation, interconnection and call termination, radio spectrum policy and awards, net neutrality, roaming and the review of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications were among the various topics discussed.

18th Meeting of the eCommerce Expert Group
The purpose of the 18th eCommerce Expert Group meeting held on 24th October in Brussels, Belgium was to gather knowledge about the possible options to tackle the issues identified during the assessment of online platforms which the Commission kicked off last year. The meeting discussed the ongoing work that the Commission is undertaking, based on preliminary evidence and the impact assessment that is being carried out on online platforms and platform-to-business (P2B) relations that the Commission had announced in its mid-term review of the Digital Single Market Strategy earlier this year. The impact assessment addresses the issues of unfair contractual clauses and trading practices identified in P2B relationships which includes exploring dispute resolution, fair practices criteria and transparency. The aim is to deliver concrete actions on unfair contracts and trading practices in P2B relations which still persist in 2017. This exercise which also includes structured dialogues with member states and stakeholders, is envisaged to be finalised by end 2017. The ensuing actions could include legislative measures. During the meeting, experts from the different member states were divided into groups to informally discuss the possible options.  The meeting also touched upon the Commission’s initiative to safeguard a fair, predictable, sustainable and trusted business environment in the online economy. A presentation about the work accomplished so far in this area, with specific reference to the Communication published in September which lays down guidelines and principles for tackling illegal content online. In the coming months, the Commission will be monitoring the progress made by the online platforms and assess whether additional measures are needed in order to ensure the swift and proactive detection and removal of illegal content online, including possible legislative measures to complement the existing regulatory framework. This work will be completed by May 2018.

Joint RSC and Telecommunications Conformity Assessment and Market Surveillance (TCAM) Committee
On the 19th October, 2017 RSC and TCAM held a joint meeting to discuss radio equipment and spectrum matters having a mutual interest.  The meeting discussed a number of interference reports caused by 5 GHz RLAN equipment to weather radars, certain aspects of the Radio Equipment Directive and drones.

BEREC Stakeholder Forum
MCA participated in the 5th BEREC Stakeholder Forum held in Brussels, Belgium on the 18th October, 2017.  This year’s edition was devoted to many new challenges regulators face in a fast–changing environment focusing on infrastructure investment and end user regulation.  The forum discussed the best regulatory approaches to promote new models of investment and competition, at a time when investments in very-high capacity network are crucial for the emergence of the Gigabit society, with speakers on the panel largely taking the view that it would not be necessary to relax regulation in order to encourage more investment in high-capacity network.   On this occasion, Johannes Gungl, BEREC incoming Chair, also presented the key work areas of BEREC next year, which include a focus on 5G deployment and the promotion of innovation in network technologies.  The Forum was also addressed by Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip.

61st Radio Spectrum Committee (RSC) meeting
An MCA official attended the 61st Radio Spectrum Committee Meeting, which was held in Brussels, Belgium on the 18th and 19th October, 2017.  The Committee gave its positive opinion on a draft decision amending Commission Decision 2005/51/EC on the harmonisation of the 24 GHz range radio spectrum for the time-limited use by automotive short-range radar equipment in the Union, and on a draft mandate to CEPT on the extension of the 5.9 GHz band for the safety-related applications of Intelligent Transport Systems' (ITS).  In addition, the Committee has continued its discussion on the other dossiers which related to the granting of a mandate to CEPT on radio local area networks (RLANs) in the 6 GHz band, the 1.5 GHz band, short range devices, as well as the 870-876 MHz and 915-921 MHz bands.

BEREC Expert Working Group - Net Neutrality
The MCA regularly participates in BEREC's Net Neutrality Expert Working Group (EWG). An MCA representative attended BEREC's Net Neutrality EWG on the 17th October 2017 in Brussels Belgium. This group is currently working, among others, on specifications for the development of QoS/Net Neutrality measurement tools which may be implemented by the NRAs.Additionally, BEREC is developing other tools which will assist in the supervision functions of the Net Neutrality regulation.

The FESA meeting took place in Athens, Greece on the 16th and 17th October 2017 and was cordially hosted by the appointed Greek eIDAS Supervisory body. The FESA comprises most member states’ eIDAS regulation supervisory bodies.
The meeting started with a roundtable and introduction by member states to latest events related to the eIDAS regulation in each member state. This was followed by a discussion on the supervision of the EU trust mark since there are a few member states which have experienced a level of abuse with regards the use of said mark which is regulated as per the eIDAS regulation. It was decided for it to be discussed further in a future FESA meeting and to agree if any particular sanctions need to be considered.
A discussion on accreditation schemes in the individual member states then followed which highlighted the disparity there is at the moment related to differences in conformity assessment reports in particular.
Other topics during the meeting included termination plan guidelines which the European Commission is discussing with FESA, feedback from a number of member states related to how they determine conformity of TSPs and an update on CEN / ETSI standardization framework for eIDAS.

BEREC European Working Group - Roaming Mobile
On the 13th October 2017, the MCA participated in the Full International Roaming European Working Group (IR-EWG) meeting which was organised by the Body of the European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC). A workshop was organised during the meeting by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) to discuss the feedback it received from different consumer organisations on the main issues and concerns on international roaming that were reported by end-users during the latest months. The primary  objectives of the meeting was to discuss the outcome of a report on transparency and comparability of roaming tariffs in the various countries in the European Union, and to discuss the upcoming 20th International Roaming Benchmark report which includes statistics compiled from feedback to a questionnaire on international roaming activities received from various National Regulatory Authorities. This report was lately updated to include the implications of the new Roam Like at Home Regulations.

ITU Multilateral Meeting
Representatives of the Authority participated in a meeting organised by the International Telecommunication Union to discuss cross-border harmful interference problems caused by Italy to its neighbouring countries on the FM sound broadcasting frequency band, i.e. within the range 87.5-108 MHz.  This meeting was held in Rome between the 11th and 12th October 2017. The discussion led to the definition of a high level action plan by Italy to address the most critical harmful interference cases.  Additional meetings on this matter are expected to be held during 2018 to assess the status of the FM harmful interference situation around Italy.

ERGP Contact Network Meeting
An MCA official attended the ERGP Contact Network meeting which took place in Brussels, Belgium on the 12th October 2017. The scope of the meeting was to discuss the various ongoing work streams and to prepare the agenda for the Plenary meeting which will be held on 30 November 2017.

European GNSS Programmes Committee Meeting
A representative of the MCA attended the European GNSS Programmes Committee Meeting which was held between the 10th and 11th October 2017 in Brussels, Belgium. The committee reviewed the performance and state of play of both Galileo and EGNOS.  Elements related to the Space Segment, Ground Segment and Commercial Services were discussed in depth.

89th Meeting of the Electronic Communications Committee's Working Group on Frequency Management
The 89th meeting of the Electronic Communications Committee's Working Group on Frequency Management (WG FM) was held Zagreb Croatia between the 9th and the 13th October 2017. This working group is responsible for developing strategies, plans and implementation advice for radio spectrum management within CEPT (European Conference for Postal and Telecommunication Administrations). Apart from covering RF monitoring and interference aspects, this working group discussed a number of topics mainly related to RF services including maritime, satellite, mobile, Short Range Devices (SRDs) and Drones. The participation of the MCA allowed Malta to be involved in the process leading to the adoption of European spectrum management and licensing deliverables. Furthermore this will feed into the review process of Malta’s legal instruments pertaining spectrum management.

BEREC Plenary
MCA participated in the 32nd plenary meetings of BEREC held in Bucharest, Romania on the 5th and 6th October 2017. The meeting was hosted by ANCOM, the Romanian national regulatory authority (NRA). During the plenary meetings, BEREC decided to launch several public consultations on: a report analysing the impact of content and devices on the telecoms market, a preliminary report on monitoring of mobile coverage in view of a Common position and the BEREC Work programme for 2018. During the meeting, BEREC also decided to develop a Net Neutrality opt-in common measurement tool and has adopted a High-level statement on NRAs competencies, in light of recent discussions in the ongoing framework review.

Cullen International Regulatory Intelligence Training Session
An MCA representative attended a training session in Brussels, Belgium between the 5th and the 6th October 2017. The training session was organised by Cullen International, an organisation specialising in regulatory intelligence. The training mainly focused on current issues faced by the postal sector by operators, businesses and consumers, specifically the regulatory aspect of European postal regulation. Parcel delivery, universal service provision and last-mile delivery methods were among the various topics discussed.

High Level Internet Governance (HLIG) Group Meeting
The MCA participated in the High level Internet Governance (HLIG) Group Meeting took place on the 3rd October 2017, at the Centre Albert Borschette in Brussels, Belgium. It was chaired by Pearse O’Donahue who is the Acting Director for Future Networks at DG Connect.
The meeting was split in two sessions, in the morning there was the multistakeholder session and during the afternoon, the meeting comprised solely the member states. In the morning session, there was an update by the European Commission on the .eu REFIT review initiative. This initiative aims to test the relevance and suitability of existing rules and adapt them to ensure the continued viability of the .eu TLD. The review included a public consultation which was open from the 12 May until the 4 August 2017 and the main findings will be presented by the European Commission in the coming months. Other points on the agenda were related to the next meeting of the ICANN and preparations for the 2017 Internet Governance Forum. The morning session ended with a presentation from Microsoft about the application of international law in cyberspace.
The closed afternoon session included a discussion regarding G7/G20 topics in relation to Internet governance, the interaction between ICANN and the GAC and also general discussions about various Internet governance issues including online safety and online child protection.

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Media participation by MCA


10.10.17              ‘Ta' Kullħadd' – RTK
                             (The Role of the Information Society Function - N. Vella, M. Attard & S. Agius)

17.10.17              ‘Ta' Kullħadd' – RTK
                             (Consumer Rights - Yanika Cassar & Matthew Farrugia)


12.10.17              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (L-ilmenti komuni li rċiviet l-MCA fl-ewwel sitt xhur tal-2017 - Yanika Cassar)

19.10.17              ‘Twelveto3' – TVM
                             (L-ilmenti komuni li rċiviet l-MCA fl-ewwel sitt xhur tal-2017 - Matthew Farrugia)

19.10.17              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (Roaming - Yanika Cassar)

26.10.17              ‘Fuq Net' – Net TV
                             (Mobile Data - Yanika Cassar)

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Legal Updates

Pending lawsuits

  • 30th October: Vodafone vs MCA pending before ART – contestation of regulatory decision of 2014on MTRs before the Administrative Review Tribunal. Case adjourned for 11th January 2018 ART’s judgment.
  • 30th October: Melita vs MCA before ART – Melita’s contestation of MCA ruling following Melita’s complaint about GO’s bundling of products issued in 2010. Adjourned for the 11th January 2018 for Melita written submissions.
  • 30th October: 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 11th January 2018 for continuation of evidence by Vodafone.
  • 30th October: 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 cross-examination by Vodafone for the 11th January 2018.  
  • 30th October: 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 11th January 2018 for Vodafone’s evidence. 
  • 30th October: Vodafone vs MCA before ART – contestation of MCA’s retail market decision 2015 – adjourned to 11th January 2018 for Vodafone’s written submissions and subsequent MCA response thereto
  • 30th October: Melita vs MCA before ART – contestation of MCA’s retail market decision 2015 – adjourned to 11th January 2018 for MCA’s final written submissions [this case is in tandem with a similar case filed by Vodafone – MCA will present their response once Vodafone do theirs]
  • 10th October: GO plc vs MCA – Court of Appeal – contestation by GO of a judgment given by ART re market four regulatory decision – case adjourned for the 20th November 2017
  • 6th October: Av. Paul Micallef noe vs Sesco Investments – Court of Appeal [inferior] judgment which confirmed judgment of court of first instance which awarded the recovery of authorisation fees due to MCA







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International News


EU2017.EE          Tallinn Digital Summit conclusions published: creating a digital continent
Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas has published conclusions from the Tallinn Digital Summit, which are going to be discussed by European Union leaders at the next European Council taking place on 19-20 October in Brussels [read more].

Cullen International       EU Telecoms Code: Parliament lead committee adopts position on access and spectrum, is ready to negotiate with Council
The European Parliament is ready to start negotiations with the Council about the EU Telecoms Framework Review. The lead Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee adopted its position on the draft European Electronic Communications Code and the draft BEREC Regulation in Strasbourg, France on October 2, 2017 [read more – subscription required].

European Commission                  Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment - the Tallinn Declaration
All the European Union Member States and EFTA countries signed the 'eGovernment Declaration' in Tallinn on 6 October 2017. The declaration was signed during the Ministerial Meeting which took place in the framework of the eGovernment Ministerial Conference. This was chaired by Minister Urve Palo, representing the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU and in the presence of Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market [read more].

Ofcom                  Ofcom plans tougher requirements on ISPs
Broadband shoppers must receive better information about speeds before they commit to a contract, under a range of new protections set out by media regulator Ofcom [read more].

Cullen International       Telecoms Code: Council reaches compromise on the treatment of new network elements, ready to negotiate with Parliament
The Council wants more flexibility for NRAs when deciding on the regulatory treatment of new network elements deployed under co-investment, compared to the Commission proposal that NRAs should not regulate such projects [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       BEREC underlines its support for Commission proposal on minimum set of tasks for NRAs
BEREC fully supports the proposed minimum set of tasks for national regulators set out in the European Commission’s draft European Electronic Communications Code (EECC), according to a statement adopted by BEREC during its last plenary [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       European WiFi sponsoring scheme gets final approval by the Council
The Council has adopted the final text of the proposed WiFi4EU scheme on October 9, 2017, paving the way for the subsidy of free public WiFi access up to 8,000 communities across Europe [read more – subscription required].

European Council            Open data creates better digital services for citizens
The Council has established its open data policy by setting out conditions for the re-use of Council documents.  This policy will improve the flow of information between the Council and the public. It will help ensure that information can be re-used for both commercial and non-commercial purposes [read more].

Total Telecom   UK government pledges £25m for 5G trials
The UK government has announced that it would make available £25 million (€28 million) in funding for 5G trials with a view to exploring potential 5G business models, services and applications [read more].

Cullen International       Telecoms Council agrees to speed up the process of agreeing the draft Code
Telecoms ministers generally supported the need to speed up the process of agreeing the European Electronic Communication Code (EECC). However, several member states stressed that the quality of the draft Code should not be sacrificed for the sake of speed [read more – subscription required].

European Council            First e-signing of an EU legislative act
The first electronic signing of an EU legislative act took place on Wednesday 25 October in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. EP President Antonio Tajani and Matti Maasikas, of the Estonian Presidency of the Council, signed electronically the legally-binding texts of the revised regulation on "Security of gas supply", paving the way for its entry into force [read more].

Ofcom                  Review of the market for standalone landline telephone services
The document sets out Ofcom’s conclusions for the market for standalone landline telephone services following consultation in February [read more].


Policy Tracker    European Parliament introduces interim review for 25-year licence terms
MEPs voted to approve the proposal on a new ECC, to which all EU member states will be subject [read more – subscription required].

Policy Tracker    Operators call for more involvement in RSPG peer reviews
Senior representatives from Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone called on the European Commission’s radio spectrum advisory body to open up peer reviews, following waning European institutional support for mandatory reviews [read more – subscription required].

Policy Tracker    Operators commit to 5G trials but cut back on overall equipment expenditure
New research shows large numbers of 5G trials taking place, with 28GHz the most popular band. However, overall, operators are spending less on network infrastructure. The GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) says that 81 operators in 42 countries are testing “pre-5G”, conducting field trials or have been licensed to start doing so [read more – subscription required].

Policy Tracker    EU’s RSPG could recommend new PMSE bands after 2020
Franz Ziegelwanger of Austrian regulator RTR, who is leading the RSPG’s work on spectrum for programme making and special events (PMSE), told RSPG workshop in Warsaw that the release of the 700MHz band for mobile use in Europe could necessitate the allocation of a dedicated block of spectrum below 2GHz for PMSE users [read more – subscription required].

Policy Tracker    Deutsche Telekom not yet clear on cost of 3.4-3.8GHz 5G networks
Further trials in the 3.7GHz band in Germany are on the way, says chief technology and innovation officer Claudia Nemat [read more – subscription required].

Advanced Television     Ofcom: 700MHz clearance on track
UK communications regulator Ofcom has published a progress update on work to clear spectrum in the 700MHz band, to make it available for mobile broadband use [read more].

Policy Tracker    Italy to announce 2018 auction details
PolicyTracker can reveal details of Italy's auction of spectrum in the 700MHz, 3.6–3.8GHz and 26.5-27.5GHz bands, which the government is expected to agree on shortly [read more – subscription required].

Telecoms Tech News     Deutsche Telekom looks to Berlin for Europe’s first 5G antennas
Deutsche Telekom is aiming to showcase the future of communication by installing high-speed 5G antennas in the real world setting of Berlin, which provide extremely high throughput and very short network reaction times [read more].

Policy Tracker    When is 26 GHz actually 28 GHz?
26GHz was identified as a 5G candidate band at WRC-19 and 28GHz was not. But in the real world, the distinction seems to be blurring. This was highlighted in the comments generated by a recent consultation. One approach is just to call them both 28GHz [read more – subscription required].

Ofcom  Improving consumer access to mobile services at 3.6-3.8GHz
This document confirms Ofcom’s intended approach to expanding spectrum access for future mobile services in the 3.6-3.8GHz band in order to enable citizens and consumers across the UK to benefit from future mobile services including 5G [read more].


Post & Parcel     PostNL announces new rates for 2018
PostNL has announced its new postal rates that will come into effect on 1 January 2018.  The new standard rate for domestic letters is €0.83. The new rate for using a franking machine is €0.77. The new standard rate for international letters is €1.40 [read more].

Reuters                Belgium's Bpost buys U.S. e-commerce firm Radial for $820 million
Bpost, Belgium’s national postal deliverer, said on Monday it has agreed to buy U.S.-based e-commerce service provider Radial for $820 million including debt [read more].

Post & Parcel     London Assembly Transport Committee reviews drone delivery issues
The London Assembly Transport Committee has been exploring the “potential scale, benefits and risks of using drone and droid technology for deliveries in London” [read more].

Post & Parcel     ASENDIA: “Swiss e-commerce market ripe for Britain’s international retailers”
Asendia, the joint venture between La Poste and Swiss Post, has published a new whitepaper, The secrets of e-commerce success in Switzerland, which aims to give cross-border retailers a toolkit they can use to expand their e-commerce business in Switzerland [read more].

Post & Parcel     Europe needs “huge increase” in urban logistics space to cope with parcel growth
Major European cities will need a “huge increase” in urban logistics space to cope with the expected growth in e-commerce-driven parcel volumes over the next few years, according to a new report from property company Cushman & Wakefield [read more].

Cullen International       The French mails market: slight growth in registered mail but addressed letters continue to decline
The French regulator, ARCEP, has reported a continuing decline in mail volumes and their associated revenues in the French market. The only traffic streams to show an upward trend in volumes and revenues were registered mail and standard parcels [read more – subscription required].

The Connexxion                               Price of French stamps to rise by 5% in 2018
The prices of stamps in France could rise by 5% in 2018, after the communications authority gave permission for La Poste to increase them [read more].

eCommerce News          UK shoppers expect free delivery for orders over £10
Online consumers from the United Kingdom aren’t unenthusiastic about paying for delivery, if the fee isn’t too high. Two thirds of UK shoppers normally don’t expect free delivery when placing orders online, but when orders go over £10 they begin to expect free delivery options [read more].

Cullen International       EP TRAN report: obligations for all cross-border parcel providers but access to USPs networks deleted
On October 23, 2017, the TRAN committee published its report on the proposal. The report supports the European Commission’s efforts to create a single market for parcel delivery, while proposing amendments to modify the text put forward by the Commission in May 2016 [read more – subscription required].

Cullen International       France: La Poste increases the price of universal services in 2018 and adds a new delivery option for the distribution of press
The French regulator, ARCEP, has approved the increase in the level of tariffs for universal services proposed by La Poste for 2018. ARCEP assesses that the changes in tariffs are compatible with the 2015 - 2018 price cap set in July, 2014 [read more – subscription required].

Post & Parcel     CollectPlus launches “Social Send” service
UK-based parcel store network CollectPlus has launched a new service which will enable users to send parcels even if they only know the recipient’s email address, messenger details or mobile [read more].

Post & Parcel     Fashionable logistics
DHL, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the consulting firm Accenture have published a study on the future of fashion logistics [read more].


Advanced Television     Study: Netflix most preferred way to watch TV
“Goodbye broadcast, hello streaming” is the overwhelming response from a study about content and viewing habits produced by Qualtrics, an experience and insights company. Although the shift from broadcast television to on-demand streaming has been a talking point of media watchers for years, Qualtrics’ study has produced some surprising data points [read more].


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