Report: German government seeks greater freedom in telecoms regulation

Germany's government is preparing to demand that the European Union (EU) eases its telecoms regulations and gives more decision-making power back to national regulators, a leaked proposal revealed.

The proposal was drafted by Germany's Ministry of Economic Affairs and is now awaiting approval by the wider government, EurActiv.com reported. The plan calls for national regulators within the EU to be given greater powers to make decisions by removing the need for them to notify the EU of proposed new telecoms laws.

Germany is also seeking to accelerate investment in new fixed and mobile infrastructure and appears concerned that OTT services including Skype and WhatsApp are not subject to the same level of regulation as traditional telecoms service providers. The government is also focusing on proposed wholesale access regulations, EurActiv.com stated.

The news outlet said it could take several weeks for Germany's government to approve the plans, which would then be presented to the EU.

EurActiv.com noted that the government proposals are in line with a previous stance by German incumbent Deutsche Telekom, and said competitors are alarmed by the move.

Sources told the news outlet that it looked like Deutsche Telekom was dictating government policy, while others expressed concerns that national regulation would favour larger companies over smaller competitors.

The CEOs of 11 major European operators last year called on the EU to urgently reform telecoms regulations to help ensure that the rules do not hinder innovation and investment.

In an open letter to the European Council -- which is comprised of the leaders of all EU member states -- the operator chiefs sought speedy reforms of regulations covering access, spectrum management and unevenness in rules covering traditional communications service providers and internet players.

The European Commission in October faced a backlash after MEPs voted to abolish mobile roaming rates from mid-2017, and cleared net neutrality rules that critics said would fail to achieve their goals due to ambiguities.

For more:
- see this EurActiv.com report

Related articles:
EU causes uproar with roaming rate, net neutrality decisions
Operator chiefs urge European Council to reform telecoms regulation
Operators under pressure to innovate as EC signals end of roaming fees
EC digital market VP slams member states' lack of ambition on telecoms rules
EU member states accused of 'savaging' roaming and net neutrality proposals

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