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TKK publishes a position paper on infrastructure cooperation for mobile telecommunications

On 4 April 2011 the Telekom-Control Commission (TKK) agreed a position paper on the subject of “Infrastructure Sharing in Mobile Networks”. The purpose of the paper is to explain to mobile operators the TKK’s ideas on the shared use of infrastructure under cooperative arrangements. Mobile operators are facing severe competitive pressure on the mobile end user market and to meet it they must make a considerable investment in new transmission technologies and innovative products. In addition, it is increasingly difficult for mobile companies to develop new sites for their transmitter infrastructure. As well as the potential problems of competition associated with cooperation, the Telekom-Control Commission also sees advantages in it. With the shared use of infrastructure cooperation partners can achieve increased coverage among the population at lower costs. In the competitive situation these advantages also benefit customers. And with a cooperative arrangement mobile broadband can be rolled out in less densely populated areas cost-effectively and even more quickly.
To avoid weakening competition by too close a cooperation, various conditions must be laid down in competition law. The following points in particular are essential:

  • no worsening of structural conditions for competition,
  • no squeezing out of or barriers to non-participating but competing mobile operators,
  • no impairment of access possibilities for service providers,
  • autonomy in the design of products and services in terms of quality and availability as well as in price fixing,
  • ability to have documentary evidence of productivity or efficiency gains,
  • geographical extent of cooperation.

The Telekom-Control Commission explicitly points out in this connection that this position paper merely comprises guidelines for assessment by the Telekom-Control Commission, and it must be remembered that cooperation in mobile communications is primarily a matter for judgement by the general competition authorities based on the provisions of general competition law, and that this position paper does not pre-empt their decision.