EU to ease telecom regulations

Europe's telecom industry will soon face fewer price controls and less regulation, according to a plan due to be announced by the European Commission next week, a report from the Irish Times said.
Industry experts said the deregulation drive, to be presented by Viviane Reding, the EU media commissioner, was certain to please Europe's telecom industry, according to the report.
A group of 30 chief executives from companies such as Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia and Telefonica had earlier this month called on Reding to reduce the number of markets subject to regulation to a 'small set of wholesale markets.'
The Irish Times report said the commission wanted to free seven of the present 18 telecom markets from regulation, including the important markets for providing local, national and international calls to retail customers, according to draft proposals.
This meant national regulators would find it much harder to force former monopolies such as Deutsche Telekom to grant rivals access to their networks and tell them what prices to charge, the report said.
The move reflected the commission's belief that competition from new market entrants had now become so fierce that previously dominant operators were no longer able to dictate terms to their rivals and customers, the report further said.