Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Leased lines in UK - dispute affecting 2004-8

A potentially £100million dispute is dragging through the Competition Appeal Tribunal after an appeal by BT from Ofcom's ruling concerning the cost of business broadband lines - dating back to 2004. I spent 2002 working on the previous round of the same dispute!!!

When telecoms operators go bad - court enforcement and delays

Ofcom is now taking a Birmingham-based telephone company to court - at least 30 months after accounts of abuse came to light - is this too slow?
"Ofcom’s monitoring of Telephonics’ behaviour in relation to a section 94 notification which was issued to Telephonics on 20 March 2009, and which concluded that there were reasonable grounds for believing that since at least 1 June 2008, Telephonics had contravened, and was contravening, General Condition 1.2 of the General Conditions of Entitlement (GC 1.2)
As set out in the Section 95 and 96 Notification, Ofcom has concluded that Telephonics has:
  1. contravened General Condition 1.2 (“GC1.2”) by misusing information obtained for the purpose of facilitating a transfer, by incorrectly applying the Cancel Other facility and engaging in Inappropriate Save Activity;
  2. failed to take steps to comply with GC 1.2; and
  3. failed to remedy the consequences of its contravention of GC 1.2."
Consumer and EU issues are dealt with in this commercial conference - always worth asking if you can attend as an observer for the second day (they will hum and haw but you might get in).

Structural remedies and Ofcom

Interesting self-congratulatory Ofcom paper on OpenReach - as well as a nice piece on ECJ potential cases. Its also worth noting that the Digital Economy Bill rumbles on with a government response to an online petition against cutting off connections.

Friday, February 12, 2010

WorldCom fraud and its systemic effects on telco-ISP competition

Interesting paper on what happens when a single large actor in the interconnected world of telecoms engages in systematic fraud over several years - leading others to over-invest, hurting bilateral relations between carriers, and leading to 'competitive bankruptcy in which many of WorldCom's rivals had to seek new ownership or Chapter 11 protection. Those who avoided bankruptcy and forced restructuring were left in the worst position of all.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why the European Commission had to reform the Directives

Huge an hugely influential BT-sponsored report, including especially work of Anders Henten, Jonathan Cave, Brian Williamson, and above all, Martin Cave - their recommendations were followed virtually to the letter where constitutionally possible (limiting length of national court processes was in the end too much to expect the Council of Ministers to accept).

Friday, February 05, 2010

3 February: deadline for UK on T-Mobile/Orange merger

OFT formally petitioned the European Commission to have the case referred. This will allow local evaluation of how the merger of T-Mobile and Orange will impact the UK mobile market, with a view to what restrictions should be placed on such a merger. T-Mobile and Orange were hoping that an EU-level investigation, with its 90-day turnaround, would wave through the merger with minimal concessions on either side. But, conversely, it would be a victory for the competition, who'd like nothing more than a lengthy investigation during which Orange and T-Mobile are effectively paralysed in the UK market.