TELECOM

Is the telecommunications market now fully liberalized?

WHEN looking at Slovak legislation, it may appear that the telecom market is fully liberalized. The Slovak Spectator asked those who know best - the alternative fixed-line operators if this is the case.

WHEN looking at Slovak legislation, it may appear that the telecom market is fully liberalized. The Slovak Spectator asked those who know best - the alternative fixed-line operators if this is the case.

Karin Kurpielová of Dial Telecom: The market will be fully liberalized when the technical and not only the administrative interconnection of networks is completed.

Petra Vagaská of Slovanet: We think the telecommunications market is not fully liberalized because the Telecommunications Office is not creating a real competitive environment. It did not set sufficiently strict conditions to make Slovak Telecom work on acceptable price parameters for interconnection. These are currently significantly higher than in other EU countries. The regulation body also did not set exact deadlines to accomplish the technical realization of network interconnection.

Konštantín Schmidt of Nextra: The telecommunications market within the EU is divided into relevant markets and these are currently under analysis in order to find out whether there is effective competition or if the markets are occupied only by dominant players. So far, according to analysis by the Telecommunications Office, there is not effective competition in the voice services market on the fixed-line network. Slovak Telecom has appealed to the Supreme Court against the results of the analysis.

Marek Brna of Železničné telekomunikácie: In Slovakia we can talk about duopoly or oligopoly with three dominant players on the market. The time when there is real liberalization will be a while. Signing interconnection contracts is only the beginning. The fully liberalized market is based not only on liberalizing legislation represented by the Act on Electronic Communications but also at fulfilling its content in practice. The authority of the market regulation body (Telecommunications Office), price terms for physically interconnecting the network, virtual mobile operators, and number portability remain open issues which are being heavily discussed, but which are still not realized in practice.

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