Sub-National Geographic Markets within the Electronic Communications Sector
21 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 10, 2012
Traditionally the geographic market definition in the electronic communications sector in the field of EU competition law was significantly relied on two factors: network reach and regulatory conditions. This method, after introduced into the electronic communications regulation, usually led to the definition of national markets. Nevertheless, the recent uneven investments in electronic communications infrastructures have results into regional variance in competitive conditions within some Member States. This fact makes the definition of national markets no longer appropriate. In order to demonstrate this trend in market definition, the national regulatory authorities, with the assistance of the European Commission, established a new approach to define geographic markets, in particular sub-national geographic markets. Nevertheless, this approach has not yet attracted much academic attention. The objective of this article is thus to provide a detailed description of this new approach. Based on a number of recent Commission decisions, it identifies a two-step analysis: (1) to define geographic units and (2) to group geographic units with homogeneous conditions of competition. Subsequently, a discussion of the criteria used for each of the two steps and an evaluation of this approach are provided as well.
Keywords: geographic market definition, sub-national markets, electronic communications regulation, EU
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