Consumers in Europe will soon be affected by a lack of competition if mobile networks aren’t given access to the fibre backhaul owned by incumbent operators. That’s the warning given in a new report commissioned by Vodafone from Analysys Mason.
It reckons competition will deteriorate in the next three to five years, because fibre connections near mobile base stations are mainly controlled by former telecoms monopolies that also offer mobile services. The report says this enables those former monopolies to take advantage of their dominant position in the fibre market, potentially restricting access or only making it available at high cost.
A list of telecoms markets that need to be regulated is currently being revised by the European Commission. Wholesale fibre access for mobile operators isn’t currently on the list, which is reviewed every seven years.
Vodafone is asking the European Commission, BEREC [the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications] and national regulatory authorities to consider the impact of access to regulated wholesale fibre on competition in the mobile market.
Markus Reinisch, Vodafone’s Public Policy Director, said “European consumers are relishing the benefits of next generation broadband provided over super-fast mobile networks. But a truly Digital Europe will not become a reality unless we anticipate – and act now to prevent – emerging infrastructure bottlenecks. We are calling on Europe’s regulators to prevent the inevitable distortion of competition caused by lack of access to fibre by applying the necessary remedies.”