2009 and the first half of 2010 saw plenty of activity from the CMT, the Spanish national regulator, which finalized its second-round market analysis of markets 4, 5, and 6 and the former markets 7, 10, and 14, initiated in 2008. As a result of these analyses, the CMT has relaxed the regulation withdrawing all the previous obligations imposed on Telefonica with regards to the former market 10 (the wholesale market for transit services in the fixed public telephone network) and on the previous market 7 (retail market for the minimum set of leased lines) – a sign of healthy competition in these markets.
As a result of the conclusion of the market 4 analysis, the CMT approved the first regulated physical infrastructure reference offer (MARco) from Telefonica in November 2009. In the same month, the Spanish government also approved a law that will allow the 800MHz band to be used to provide mobile broadband services. Moreover, as a result of a consultation initiated in October 2009, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade (MITYC) announced that it would extend the scope of the current universal service obligation (USO) to incorporate broadband access at a minimum speed of 1Mbps – a measure that might change depending on the outcome of EC’s final decision concerning its proposed modification of the Universal Service Directive (USD), which is expected to be published by the end of 2010. The EC also proposed broadband to be incorporated in the USO, but hasn’t yet opted for a minimum speed.
These three recent developments could help to increase Spain’s broadband penetration (be it fixed or mobile broadband). Despite its growth during 2009, the Spanish broadband penetration rate (20.2%) is still below the EU average of 24.8%.
Another important regulatory development over the past year has been the establishment of a new mobile termination rate (MTR) glidepath which has imposed a 40% reduction in MTRs. While dramatic, this is not fully in line with the EC’s Recommendation which will require still more cuts over the next few years.
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