Deutsche Telekom has denied claims that it restricts access to its domestic market by making it difficult for rivals to access its IP-Bitstream and ATM-Bitstream wholesale products.
A spokesman for the telco said he isn’t aware of any problems with rival carriers accessing the services, after the US Trade Representative described it as a market access barrier in its annual 1377 review of global telecoms trade agreements.
Philipp Blank told Telecoms Europe that “both are available,” and “competitors make widespread use of the IP-Bitstream.”
Deutsche Telekom is obliged to make both products available under German law. However, the USTR says the wholesale products are just the tip of the iceberg, and that the carrier also makes it difficult for rivals to obtain Private Partial Circuits (PPC), which are a form of leased lines.
The USTR notes that Germany’s regulator BNetzA says the PPC products are available on an indirect basis, with carriers forced to bundle several network elements with their own transmission facilities, but argues that the regulator should consider offering “direct, regulated access,” because “PPC is a common, regulated, product in many markets, including the United States.”
While Blank was unable to comment on the PPCs, he says the USTR’s assertion that Deutsche Telekom doesn’t have a standardized IPTV platform available for competitors is correct.
“But we already do have agreements with several competitors (including Vodafone), on a VDSL wholesale offer,” Blank said, adding. “This shows that market-based solutions are feasible without the regulator having to intervene.”