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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: LONDON, UK, 13 November, 2007: The new proposals for the EC Regulatory Framework announced today (13 November) show similarities to the game of 'pass the parcel' in which children pass a many-layered parcel around a circle, unwrapping one layer each time the music stops.

"Sometimes a layer has a small prize, and the final layer reveals a larger prize for one lucky child. The new EC Regulatory package, too, offers something for everyone, but no-one quite knows whether the eventual prize will be theirs," explains James Allen, Principal Consultant at Analysys, the global advisors of telecoms, IT and media (www.analysys.com).

The most notable proposed changes to the Framework are as follows:

· the Commission gets substantial new powers, including a veto on remedies and the ability to hold National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) to a timetable

· there are substantial changes to the European Regulators Group (ERG), which becomes an EC agency (the European Electronic Communications Market Agency, EECMA) with a substantial staff and the aim of improving the harmonisation of regulation

· the NRAs get a new remedy - functional separation - and their decisions may be more difficult to suspend prior to appeals being heard

· there are fewer relevant markets presumed to require review, which will reduce the cost of regulation

· there are substantial changes which relate to citizens' rights such as privacy, price transparency, more rapid number portability and access to electronic communications for disabled users

· finally, there are also significant changes in the area of spectrum management, which will affect the entire industry.

"This is a complex set of proposed changes to the Directives which is not straightforward to interpret. The big prize on offer is a better functioning market in each Member State, as well as effective pan-national markets. But it is too early to tell how the game will play out, and whether that prize will ever be unwrapped." says Allen.

"It may be an interesting game. For one thing, 'harmonisation of regulation' is easy to say but hard to do. There are also some surprises in the proposals which have not been widely trailed in the press. One of these is new powers regarding 'net neutrality', under which the NRAs and the Commission will be able to set minimum standards of quality of service. Another surprise is a proposed role for the Commission in constraining retail tariffs for certain call types (e.g. calls to numbers in the range used for pan-European services)."

Allen continues, "These powers do not sit at all easily within the 2002 Framework because they would involve interventions in the retail market which could apply to players without significant market power (SMP). The 2002 Framework sought to minimise impositions on operators other than those with SMP, and to keep regulatory intervention to the wholesale level and rely on competition where possible. It has been largely successful: in the case of net neutrality, for example, there is not as yet an issue in Europe as a whole, because we have vibrant competition in the retail markets for both broadband and mobile access, and customers can always switch supplier if they dislike the way their traffic is handled. Let us hope, therefore, that these particular powers (if indeed the proposals become law in their current form) are used sparingly or not at all, and can be removed in the next review.

“Finally, there is a proposal which affects providers of VoIP services, an area in which Analysys has done a lot of work. Under the new proposal, if a user can call telephone numbers at all, calls to the emergency services must be possible. This will mean that VoIP services such as Vonage and SkypeOut will need to support such calls, and this will no longer be optional. This measure will undoubtedly save lives.”

For further information or to arrange an interview with James Allen please contact the press office by email press@analysys.com or telephone +44(0)1223 460600.

About Analysys (www.analysys.com)
Analysys provides strategy and management consultancy, information services and start-up support throughout the telecommunications, IT and media sector. Its grasp of market dynamics, coupled with creativity, rigour and renowned objectivity, enables Analysys to consistently exceed the high levels of quality and innovation that its clients expect. The company has over 160 staff worldwide, and, as part of the Analysys Mason Group, has offices in Cambridge, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Paris, Singapore and Washington DC. For more information on Analysys's Market Review consultancy services (and to download a presentation of the key issues) please Click here.

Media contact:
Gina Ghensi
Analysys
Tel: +44 (0)1223 460600
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