COMPETITION POLICY DIGITAL AGE A Practical Handbook
About this Handbook
This Handbook is for you if you have an interest in competition policy in the digital communications sector and, in particular, if you are: • A lawmaker, or in the policy departments of regulators and competition authorities recognising a need to reconsider the current system, in a way that takes into account: -- the interplay between telecoms regulation and the enforcement of competition law; -- the traditional tools and categories in market definition and market assessment; and -- the need to ensure that different operators providing a similar service are treated in the same way in terms of competition policy. • An enforcer of regulation, with or without concurrent competition law powers, wishing to understand how to regulate the telecoms sector in the digital age, due account being taken of what competition law enforcers can also do. • An enforcer of competition law wishing to gain a better understanding of the competitive forces that are shaping the digital age.
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1. Communications are converging It is generally understood that the digital age brought about the convergence of fixed, mobile and media networks technology and that this is leading to consolidation of infrastructure, in the mobile, fixed and cable sectors (see Assessing Market Power in the Digital Age, Key Concept 3; Key Concept 3), and the possibility for the
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(see Defining Markets in the Digital Age, Key Concept 10, and Key Concept 10 – Bundling in Market Assessment).
It is perhaps less commonly considered that the digital age can also be analysed as a story tal economy and of unbundling, followed by re-bundling. In a ors of the economy: nutshell, the telecom operators (mobile and tal economy on fixed) have traditionally had a presence in e identified in this infrastructure, customer management and Last visited page levance for the product innovation and have been able to olicy in many leverage infrastructure to provide services. The advent of the smartphone in 2007 made g the landscape it possible for new entrants to leverage stry, namely: product innovation capabilities (without the nications and the need for an infrastructure) into customer communication management, leading to the unbundling of the Last visited page, press: three businesses incorporated in the traditional s); the shift (mobile) operators.6 The new communications Alt he emergence networks may seem fragmented but closer gic asset. inspection of the facts reveals that one thorities and particular firm, Facebook, has already begun w these digital to rebundle services. It now controls four of olicy in the the top mobile social and communications itional competition networks globally both in terms of scale rket needs to and engagement. Facebook has taken n defining and advantage of the opportunity to consolidate user engagement across four of the leading platforms in mobile (Facebook.com; Whatsapp;
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for Competition Policy in a Digitalised Economy, a Study for the ECON Committee,pages ropa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=IPOL_STU%282015%29542235
ropean Parliament, Challenges for Competition Policy in a Digitalised Econo