On the back of the Conference of Electronic Communications Sector Regulators’ (CRC’s) publication of its decisions on the quantitative aspects of the cable regulation in Belgium, local multi-service operator Mobistar has reconfirmed its intention ‘to move forward with the effective implementation of the cable regulation to market TV and fixed broadband services to Belgium consumers’. With the CRC having published its decision on the qualitative aspects of cable regulation in early-September 2013, Mobistar noted that the latest development completes the regulatory framework for the delivery of broadcasting signals and access to broadcast networks in Belgium through cable networks. As such, wholesale cable regulation will now move into its implementation phase, prompting Mobistar to call on all of the country’s cablecos to ‘embrace this evolution, and engage in a cooperative manner, similarly to the openness mobile operators showed allowing them wholesale access to their mobile networks’.
However, in order to realise its aims Mobistar has noted that it will rely on regulators to ensure that the regulated conditions over time meet the requirements highlighted by the European Commission (EC). Further, it has said it will look to local watchdogs to ensure that the necessary amendments are made by the first annual review of the pricing conditions, while also taking immediate action if any anti-competitive actions or price squeeze situations arise. Having said it agreed with the EC’s point of view that in the long-term a cost-oriented approach for the wholesale charges is more appropriate than a retail minus model, Mobistar also highlighted the fact that, with respect to the technical and operational specifications, there are still no compliant wholesale offers available on the market two months after the due date as set by regulation. As such, it has called on regulators to take action to remedy such a situation.
With the operator saying it is determined to move forward with the effective implementation of regulated cable services ‘as soon as possible’, Mobistar claims to have stepped up its efforts on a series of operational activities, such as the sourcing of hardware, software and contents.
Commenting on the development, Mobistar CEO Jean-Marc Harion said: ‘So far the unbalanced regulatory framework between fixed and mobile has caused a massive downwards repricing in the mobile market in Belgium while fixed price continue increasing. The wholesale cable regulation shall correct this asymmetry to the benefit of the consumer. In the meanwhile we continue focusing on the execution of our transformation and are glad to see that gradually we are getting more visibility on the future with the proliferation of 4G and the opportunity that the wholesale cable regulation will bring to Mobistar,’