Are there any regulations covering interconnection between operators?

Technology (3rd edition)

Armenia Small Flag Armenia

The interconnection between operators is the subject to regulation of the Law and legal acts adopted by the PSRC.

The basic rule is that each operator should interconnect, upon request, its public electronic communications network with the public electronic communications network of another operator.

The operator shall grant interconnection pursuant to the following principles:

  • “any-to-any” interconnection must be granted in such a manner so as to enable all customers of each public electronic communications network to communicate with all customers of other public electronic communications networks or to obtain services from other networks;
  • “point-to-point" interconnection must be maintained in such a manner so as to enable the delivery of public electronic communications services to any customer of one network by the operator of another network;
  • interconnecting operators shall be equally liable for the provision of interconnection in reasonable time limits.
    In addition to the above listed principals a dominant operator shall be obliged to provide interconnection in accordance with the following principles:
  • The conditions for providing interconnection must: (a) be non-discriminatory with regard to similarly situated persons; (b) be reasonable and transparent as to technical conditions of interconnection as well as the number and location of interconnection points; (c) include the charges to be calculated pursuant to the principles defined in the Law;
  • Interconnection must be approved by the PSRC at any point specified in the interconnection request: (a) not later than within forty-five days after the operator agrees to the conditions of interconnection under the Reference Offer for Interconnection; (b) within two months after the receipt of the request under the Reference Offer for Interconnection, except where a special construction is needed. In this case, the parties shall agree upon reasonable time limits;
  • The dominant operator shall be obliged to provide the operator requesting interconnection with information necessary for interconnection;
  • The dominant operator shall be obliged to use the information received from the operator requesting interconnection only for the purpose of providing interconnection services and not to disclose such information to third parties, with the exception of cases provided for by law;
  • The dominant operator shall be obliged to give, within a reasonable time limit, a prior notice to the interconnected operator of the modifications in technical standards or operating characteristics of the network of the dominant operator;
  • The dominant operator must provide interconnection under the same conditions as it provides interconnection to itself or to its affiliates;
  • Cross-subsidisation shall not be allowed;
  • Where technically and economically feasible, the interconnection services and components must be separated to the extent that the operator requesting interconnection does not have to pay for such network components or facilities that it does not need.

Dominican Republic Small Flag Dominican Republic

Yes, interconnection is first defined by Law 153-98 and further properly regulated in Resolution 042-02 with the approval of the General Interconnection Regulation for Public Telecommunication Networks and Services issued by the Board of Directors of INDOTEL.

Egypt Small Flag Egypt

As mentioned above, telecommunications is a heavily regulated sector. As part of that regulation, the Telecommunications Law as well as the NTRA were very keen to ensure the regulation of interconnection between service providers. Article 28 of the Telecommunication Law obliges each telecommunications operator to achieve interconnection with other service providers. This shall take place through either (i) entering into an interconnection agreement; or (ii) joining an existing interconnection agreement.

The NTRA has further issued a general framework governing interconnection agreements between the telecommunications operators and service providers.

Estonia Small Flag Estonia

Yes, Electronic Communications Act regulates the matter, and the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority is supervising. Where an electronic communications undertaking does not have an appropriate network infrastructure for providing end-users with electronic communications services, access and interconnection regulation should be followed.

Electronic Communications Act divides access and interconnection obligation depending on whether the obliged operator has significant market power on the relevant market or not and whether communications undertaking is controlling access by end-users.

General access and interconnection norms provide that communications undertakings are free to agree on the technical and commercial conditions for access and interconnection, but at the same time they need to take account of the special provisions that deal with the interconnection obligation imposed on undertakings by the law and the decisions of the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority. The agreement specified should be entered into in writing.

At minimum, the communications undertaking providing network services is required, at the request of other communications undertaking, to negotiate the interconnection in good faith if this is necessary for the provision of communications services. In order to perform that obligation, a communications undertaking is required to disclose to the party with whom it has commenced to negotiate the interconnection, among other things, all the information necessary for the interconnection, including the parameters of the network interfaces.

More detailed regulation is prescribed for the operators of significant market power.

France Small Flag France

Interconnection between operators is a right and a duty and is regulated in various manners under the CPCE. In particular, operators of networks open to the public must accept interconnection with their peers, unless their refusal is duly motivated. The ARCEP may control any interconnection agreement as well as any agreement for the sharing of a radio network and may, in certain cases, impose specific requirements on the parties, in an ‘objective, transparent, non-discriminatory and proportionate manner’ to make sure they interconnect their networks and make their services interoperable.

Similar duties apply to infrastructure managers such as highway operators and local authorities, as well as to those who set up or manage optical fibre broadband lines to end users.

China Small Flag China

Yes. The Telecoms Regulations provide the general framework to regulate such interconnections, including that the interconnection of telecommunications networks must be effected on the basis of the principles of technical feasibility, economic sense, fairness, impartiality and mutual complementation. The Administrative Provisions on the Interconnection between Public Telecoms Networks (Interconnection Provisions) provides further detailed provisions and procedures for interconnections between telecommunication networks. For example, the Interconnection Provisions prohibit a telecoms operator from rejecting any interconnection request from another telecoms operator and from restricting users from selecting any telecoms service of another telecoms operator.

Israel Small Flag Israel

Interconnections between operators are regulated under: the Communications Law (section 5); under specific regulations on interconnection tariffs for fixed and mobile operators of a public telecommunications network; and according to particular provisions as set out in their licenses.

The Communications Law authorizes the Minister of Communications to require the operators to provide interconnect services to each other. The default, according to this Law, is to leave the interconnection arrangements to the negotiations between the operators, based on reasonable prices, while granting the Minister of Communications the authority to intervene in any case of disagreement and to give his ruling in regard to any matter in dispute between the parties.

After realising that the interconnect tariffs set by the operators in the past did not meet the criteria of reasonable price as determined by the Communications Law, since the Ministry of Communications found that they were far higher than the cost required for performing the interconnection, while harming small providers and new competitors entering the market, the Minister of Communications decided to regulate the interconnection tariffs and enacted specific regulations in which the interconnect tariffs are prescribed that reflect a significant reduction in the tariffs, as compared to those charged by the operators prior the enactment of such regulations.

Italy Small Flag Italy

Interconnection is regulated by Chapter III of the ECC (headed access and interconnection). Section 40 and ff. of the ECC provides that operators may negotiate with each other agreements on the technical and commercial arrangements for access and interconnection. In addition, AGCOM also ensures, through the adoption of specific measures, that there are no restrictions preventing undertakings from entering into interconnection and access agreements.

Japan Small Flag Japan

Yes.

Malaysia Small Flag Malaysia

The CMA is the principal legislation for interconnection and access to facilities and services between operators. The establishment of an access regime under the CMA enables providers to obtain access to necessary facilities and services on reasonable terms and conditions.

Section 228 of the CMA provides that a Network Facilities Provider must provide non-discriminatory access to any post, pole, tower, or other above-ground facilities for carrying, suspending or supporting any network facilities (“Post”), network facilities or right-of-way. However, access may be denied in certain situations, such as where there is insufficient capacity, or for reasons of safety, security, reliability, or difficulty of a technical or engineering nature, as long the reason for the denial of access is not due to discrimination.

Network Facilities Providers and Network Service Providers are required to provide access to their network facilities or services listed in the access list under the CMA to any other Network Facilities Providers, Network Services Providers, Applications Service Providers and Content Applications Service Providers. Network Facilities Providers and Network Service Providers have to prepare a Reference Access Offer Agreement for each facility listed in the access list. The Access Provider has disclosure, negotiation, content and service obligations under the MCMC’s Determination on the Mandatory Standard on Access or under any determinations of MCMC.

Any written agreement between providers for access to listed facilities and services must be registered with the MCMC in order to be enforceable.

Malta Small Flag Malta

Yes- Part IV of the Electronic Communications Networks and Services (General) Regulations (S.L. 399.28) provide the rights and obligations of telcoms operators in relation to access and interconnection.

New Zealand Small Flag New Zealand

Certain interconnection services (such as mobile termination access and PSTN interconnection) are regulated under the access regime described above. Regulation applies equally to all providers of the regulated service.

Generally, interconnection is governed by commercial arrangements and industry-led regulation, which is based on codes drafted by the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum ("TCF"). Existing codes addressing operator interconnection include end-user transfer between retailers, IP interconnection, co-siting, premises wiring, interconnection of mobile phone services, public services (such as emergency calling and interception capability) and consumer-related services.

Germany Small Flag Germany

Specific regulations on interconnection between telecommunication operators are stipulated in Section 19 TKG (e.g. non-discrimination, transparency), according to which each operator of a public telecommunications network is obliged upon request to submit an offer on interconnection to other operators of public telecommunications networks to ensure the communication of the users, the provision of telecommunication services and their interoperability throughout the European Union.

Further general regulations covering interconnection between operators are located in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (AEUV) and the Restriction of Competition Act (GWB).

With view to telecommunication operators with market powers, special obligations and prohibitions are regulated in Section. 19 et seq. TKG. In addition the general regulations pursuant Article 102 AEUV and Sections 19 to 21 GWB need to be taken into account. These regulations prohibit the exploitation of a dominating position.

Specific consumer protection regulations with regard to telecom services are stipulated in Section 43a et seq. TKG. The scope of protection ranges from special information requirements, claims for damages, the equivalence in disabled end-users' access to services, fault clearance service and itemized billing.

Indonesia Small Flag Indonesia

There is special chapter regarding interconnection in Law 36/1999 and GR 52/2000. In addition that, the MCI has also issued a specific regulation addressing the interconnection issues namely the Minister of Communication and Informatics Regulation No. 8/Per/M.KOMINFO/02/2006 on Interconnection.

Pakistan Small Flag Pakistan

PTA has issued Interconnection Guidelines, 2004 (the “Interconnection Guidelines”), pursuant to which, all operators (licensees of PTA) are obliged to provide interconnection to other operators desiring to interconnect. Interconnection shall be permitted at any technically and economically feasible point. Where an operator submits its request for interconnection with another, the former is required to a response in writing. It may accept the request completely or partially. It can only deny the request in its entirety based on reasons which have been given fairly. The matter shall finally be subject to adjudication by PTA.

PTA shall publish all interconnection agreements submitted to it in such a manner as it may deem appropriate. However, the operators may request PTA to keep confidential any information or any section of an interconnection agreement, the disclosure of which would have the potential to seriously and prejudicially affect the operators. The decision to keep any such information confidential will be at the sole discretion of PTA.

Romania Small Flag Romania

Yes, namely GEO 111/2011. ANCOM takes all necessary measures to ensure and encourage adequate access and interconnection as well as the interoperability of services in a way that promotes efficiency, sustainable competition, investments and innovation for maximizing the benefits of end-users. To accomplish this, ANCOM may impose certain obligations on undertakings, as follows:

  • in order to ensure end-to end connectivity, the authority may impose obligations on undertakings that control access to end-users to interconnect their networks;
  • in justified cases and if it is necessary, the authority may also impose obligations on undertakings that control access to end-users to make their services interoperable;
  • to the extent that this is necessary to ensure accessibility for end-users to digital radio and television broadcasting services to provide access to application programming interfaces or electronic program guides on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

The obligations and conditions imposed as per the above must be transparent, objective, proportionate and non-discriminatory and must follow a certain procedure provided by law. Also, such measures that may be imposed by the regulatory authority are without prejudice to the measures that may be taken regarding undertakings with significant market power.

South Korea Small Flag South Korea

Korea has a set of complex rules regulating interconnection arrangements between and among basic telecommunications services providers -- specifically, Facilities-based Telecommunications Service Providers -- a telecoms operator receives an interconnection request from another telecoms operator, it may allow for interconnection by entering into an interconnection agreement with the said operator. However, basic telecommunications business operators such as those described in 5 below are obliged to comply with any interconnection requests made by other telecoms operators. The MSICT sets forth specific standards regarding the scope, conditions, procedure, method of interconnection, and calculation of interconnection charges.

Spain Small Flag Spain

Yes. First of all, please note that, in accordance with Article 3.c of the Spanish Telecommunications Act, one of the objectives is precisely "to promote the deployment of networks and the provision of electronic communications services, fostering end-to-end connectivity and interoperability and access, on conditions of equality and non-discrimination". In this sense, Article 12 of the Spanish Telecommunications Act (in line with Article 4.1 of the EU Access Directive 2002/19/EC) states that operators of public electronic communications networks shall have the right and, when requested by other electronic communications network operators, the obligation to negotiate mutual interconnection for the purpose of providing publicly available electronic communications services, with the aim of thereby ensuring the provision and interoperability of services.

Sweden Small Flag Sweden

In chapter 4 of the Electronic Communications Act, the matter of interconnection between operators is covered. Operators of a public communication net are obliged to negotiate about interconnection with those who provide, or intend to provide, electronic communication services to the public. Such negotiations are subject to confidentiality.

According to chapter 4, section 3 of the act, there is an obligation for operators who control the end users´ access to interconnect, or take measures that enables the end users to connect with each other. As for operators with significant market power, they can be obliged to e.g. adopt non-discriminating terms and fulfil certain demands relating to the access and use of the net in question.

Taiwan Small Flag Taiwan

Yes, either under TA or TMA, interconnection is regulated. According to the TA and TMA, a telecommunications operator may request interconnection with another telecommunications operator and a telecommunications operator may not reject such request without justification, if the interconnection is technology feasible and the request is fair and reasonable. Please note that under the TMA, if a telecommunications operator will be conducting negotiation for interconnection, it must apply for telecommunications operator registration with the NCC.

Turkey Small Flag Turkey

Yes. Electronic Communications Law and Regulation on Access and Interconnection regulates obligations relating to interconnection services. Accordingly, operators are obliged to make interconnection negotiations with each other if requested, and if they cannot come to an agreement, ICTA may impose an interconnection obligation to the operators. ICTA may also restrict these obligations where it deems necessary in terms of public interest.

United Kingdom Small Flag United Kingdom

Yes - the rules on interconnection are governed by a mixture of communications- and competition-related laws.

The General Conditions require that a provider of public electronic communication networks negotiates with another public electronic communication networks provider based in the EC with a view to concluding an agreement (or an amendment to an existing agreement) for interconnection within a reasonable period. This is a general obligation which applies to providers of public electronic communication networks.

In addition, Ofcom has the power to impose access-related conditions on providers of electronic communication networks for the purposes of securing:

  • efficiency (e.g. by making associated facilities available);
  • sustainable competition;
  • efficient investment and innovation; and
  • the greatest possible benefit for the end-users of public electronic communications services.

United States Small Flag United States

Yes, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires local exchange carriers ("LECs") to interconnect with other carriers, and specifies the requirements for LECs to meet the interconnection requirement in their negotiated agreements with other carriers. LECs must provide interconnection at reasonable rates and in a timely manner, and their interconnection agreements are subject to approval of state public utility commissions.

Australia Small Flag Australia

Parts 3, 4 and 5 of Schedule 1 to the Telecommunications Act comprise the carrier-to-carrier access regime. This makes it mandatory for carriers to provide other carriers with access to the following in certain circumstances:

(a) facilities;

(b) certain information relating to the operation of telecommunications networks in Australia;

(c) telecommunications transmission towers and the sites of such towers; and

(d) underground facilities designed to hold lines.

This regime promotes the long-term interests of end-users of carriage services or of services supplied by means of carriage services, and enables the provision of competitive facilities and carriage services, or alternatively for carriers to establish their own facilities.

The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) also contains a telecommunications access regime. This regime does not provide a general right of access. Rather, the ACCC must first declare a service following a public inquiry. Where a service is declared, the carrier must provide access to other providers subject to standard access obligations. Current declared services in Australia include:

(a) wholesale ADSL and line rental;

(b) local telephone services;

(c) certain access to the public switched telephone network; and

(d) certain access to the National Broadband Network.

Updated: July 25, 2019