7 June 2002
In its statement to the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the FCA is critical of the Proposal for the new Telecommunications Market Act insofar as it would provide the FCA and the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) with parallel powers in competition control.
The FCA feels, in general, that sector-specific competition control should be kept to a minimum and be used only in situations where the general competition rules cannot be efficiently applied. The best and clearest option would be that, in telecommunications too, competition control would solely remain with the FCA and FICORA would monitor the activities of telecom companies in other respects. A typical target would be the cost correspondence of pricing.
Should the legislation be passed in the proposed form, the FCA finds it important to safeguard the uniform application of the competition rules, irrespective of industry. The Competition Act is a general Act, which shall be fairly applied to all companies conducting business in Finland. FICORA’s decisions on market definition and the competitive position of telecom companies should hence be in line with the general rules of application of the Competition Act.
A uniform competition law interpretation is best secured by firm and regular cooperation between the FCA and FICORA. This also enhances the possibilities for the removal of competition restraints and maintaining sound competition in the telecom market. In this regard, the FCA finds important the proposed regulations, which would ensure operational information exchange between the two offices.
However, the FCA emphasises in its statement that it may come to a different conclusion than FICORA about relevant markets and dominant position when making decisions based on the Competition Act because an exhaustive pre-assessment of the markets is not possible. The FCA finds that, for the sake of clarity, it should be added into the commentary to the Government bill that the new tasks of FICORA do not exclude the possibility of national authorities to make case-specific decisions, which may differ from FICORA’s decisions, when reviewing competition restraint cases.
Director Kirsi Leivo