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Communications & Strategies

Appel à contributions

Dossier to be published in No. 98 – 2nd Q. 2015

Ex ante regulation in e-communications:
towards a new balance
of symmetric and SMP remedies?

Edited by Richard FEASEY, Christoph PENNINGS,
Ulrich STUMPF & Nicolai VAN GORP

The e-communications sector is undergoing significant changes. The deployment of fiber and 4G access networks, the proliferation of OTT services and the transformation of value chains, among others, have profoundly modified the competitive dynamics and the nature of competition problems. A central question is to what extent these changes require a new approach to ex ante regulation in the EU regulatory framework.

The large body of ex ante regulations is historically triggered by Significant Market Power (asymmetric regulation). While symmetrical regulation had its place under the European regulatory framework, it played a complementary and largely secondary role.

The SMP approach had significant merits: It provided a clear basis for the regulation of legacy monopoly structures in liberalized markets. Moreover it was successful in deregulating markets, where incumbents’ market power evaporated and markets tipped towards effective competition. The reduction of the number of markets susceptible to ex ante regulation in the new Commission Relevant Markets Recommendation is a clear reflection of this.

The SMP approach, however, also has its shortcomings and there is growing awareness that symmetrical regulation may be better suited in a number of situations. This is illustrated in two examples: First, some regulators have introduced symmetrical regulation, because it may strike a better balance between investment incentives and competition, e.g. in case of FTTH in France, Portugal and Spain (symmetrical access to terminating segment) or in case of VDSL vectoring in Germany (symmetrical access to local bitstream). Second, in cases, where wholesale access markets do not tip from individual SMP to effective competition, but rather to a duopoly or oligopoly situation, the joint SMP concept may be difficult to implement. This is suggested by the brief and largely unsuccessful history of joint SMP based regulation in mobile access and call origination, a market that was removed from the Relevant Markets Recommendation in 2007. This raises the question whether in such cases symmetrical regulation may be an alternative to the SMP approach.

The upcoming special edition of Communications & Strategies addresses the ongoing transformation of markets and their implications for competition problems and ex ante regulation. Thus it will be highly relevant for the forthcoming review of the EU regulatory framework for e-communications.

Questions touched upon by the special edition include:
• What are the relevant market trends looking forward?
• Do market trends require a review of regulatory approaches, such as a move towards more symmetrical remedies or other approaches?
• What are the pros and cons of the symmetrical approach versus the SMP approach in terms of investment incentives, competition, practicality and regulatory burden?
• Are the areas, where symmetrical regulation should be strengthened?
• What is the experience so far with symmetrical remedies in individual countries (case studies)?
• Should symmetrical regulation complement or replace SMP regulation?
• What is the future of SMP regulation?
• Should competition problems related to market dominance be predominantly remedied by ex post intervention based on competition law?


Please send submissions (in the form of full papers)
25th March 2015 to: 


Submission of papers

All papers submitted for publication will be reviewed by at least two referees/experts using the "double blind" system.
Proposals must be submitted in Word format (.doc) and should not exceed 6,500 words – including the abstract and references.
As far as possible, the publisher recommends that you insert some illustrations (tables, diagrams) in the paper, in order to facilitate the general comprehension.
Please ensure that they are readable in grey scale, and that they are of high-definition, in order to guarantee the printing quality.
Bibliographical references should be included at the end of the article. Should these references appear in the text, please indicate the author's name and the year of publication in brackets.

Extra papers

COMMUNICATIONS & STRATEGIES also welcomes submissions for extra papers - off dossier - that typically cover innovative issues in the sector of the telecoms, internet and new media. If your paper is selected by the Editiorial committee, it will be submitted to the double-blind review process.
On the other hand, should you wish to propose a short paper (1500 to 3000 words maximum) for the "Features" rubric, offering factual analyses of recent developments in the fields of regulation and competition, firms and markets, technical innovations, public policies and use logics, please contact Sophie NIGON.
Book reviews are also very welcome should they are in connection with our usual thematics.



Sophie NIGON
Managing Editor
P: +33 (0)467 144 416
F: +33 (0)467 144 400
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