Spain's move to open up mobile phone market gets EU support

The European Commission will be supporting Spain's move to open up its mobile phone market, saying lower prices could result from giving three new players access to networks run by Telefonica, Vodafone, and France Telecom's Amena, an Associated Press report said.

The report said the cost of using mobile phones in Spain was well above the EU average, and that new entrants should increase competition, bringing prices down.
'Experience from other member states has shown that the entry of other mobile virtual network operators can boost competition with tangible benefits for consumers in terms of lower prices,' the commission, quoted by the Associated Press report, said.

The report said instead of building and owning its own mobile telecom network, virtual network operators such as Tele2 or Virgin Mobile lease capacity from other operators and offer mobile calls under their own brand, allowing them to keep costs low.

The report said Spanish telecoms regulator CMT found that Telefonica, Vodafone and Amena had a common interest in preventing virtual operators from setting up business in Spain and were large enough to control the market.

CMT's order for the three operators to open up their networks could be overturned when a fourth operator, Xfera, enters the Spanish telecoms business this year, the report further said.