Market definitions in the new European regulatory framework for electronic communications

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The regulation of electronic communications has been recently reformed in Europe. One striking feature of the review was to base most of the economic regulation - the so-called Significant Market Power regime - on antitrust principles. In particular, the regulated markets have to be defined according to competition law methodologies. This paper describes this approach and studies in detail the recently adopted Commission Recommendation 'on relevant markets susceptible to ex-ante regulation'. The paper concludes with three policy recommendations. (1) As regulation is more flexible and more complex, national regulators should co-operate among themselves and National Courts should only reform regulatory decisions in case of manifest error. (2) As regulation is not any more justified by the 'original sin' of the previous monopolists, but by the inefficiency of antitrust to control market power, NRA should be cautious not to overly expand their intervention. (3) As ex-ante market definitions are aligned on antirust principles, authorities should make sure that market definition is not a goal in itself but only a mean to achieve the policy objectives of the sector-specific regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-47
Number of pages21
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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