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ACM to draw up guidelines for the sharing of telecom infrastructure

21-10-2019

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will draw up guidelines for telecom providers that wish to share infrastructure in the roll-out of 5G. Over the past few months, ACM has had discussions about this topic with several stakeholders in the telecom sector.

The developments involving 5G raise questions for telecom providers that wish to offer this next generation of mobile networks. Henk Don, Member of the Board of ACM, comments: ‘We regularly get questions about what is and what is not allowed with regard to the sharing of infrastructure. Joining forces may offer telecom providers many benefits, but it cannot come at the expense of competition. With these guidelines, we wish to offer certainty to businesses in the telecom market, and thus contribute to a smooth roll-out of 5G.’

Sharing infrastructure

In the discussions with the telecom sector, several topics were identified, which the guidelines will definitely touch on. First of all, they will look at the conditions under which telecom providers are allowed to work together in the roll-out of the 5G network, for example in unprofitable regions. A second topic is the ability that spectrum license holders will have under the new Telecommunications Act to rent and rent out spectrum. In that context, the guidelines will provide an answer to the question of how these rental arrangements will be viewed from a competition perspective. A third topic are the preconditions for telecom providers that wish to use another provider’s 2G-network or 3G-network, after these providers have disconnected their own 2G-network or 3G-network in the transition towards 5G. The continuation of 2G-services or 3G-services over another provider’s network can be of importance for end-users that do not have 4G-phones.

In addition to drawing up these guidelines, ACM will take a closer look at the dynamics on the market for mast sites (or cell towers). Given the increasing importance of suitable mast locations for 5G, ACM believes it is important that this market functions well.

Auction

In 2020, an auction will be held for the mobile frequencies that are important for 5G. ACM aims to publish the guidelines by February 2020, so that market participants will have them when preparing for that auction.