HomeInsightsEuropean Union publishes Notice to Stakeholders on UK withdrawal from EU and EU rules on electronic communications

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The Notice reminds stakeholders that, subject to any transitional arrangement that may be contained in a possible withdrawal agreement, as of the withdrawal date, the EU rules in the field of electronic communications will no longer apply to the UK. The UK will therefore become a third country.

Currently, providers established in at least one EU Member State enjoy the right to provide electronic communications networks and services in all other Member States without being required to have an establishment there. They are subject only to a “general authorisation” in each Member State where they provide networks or services.

As of the withdrawal date, providers of electronic communications networks and/or services established in the UK will cease to benefit from the general authorisation regime. Therefore, the EU-27 Member States will be able to impose additional authorisation requirements on providers established in the UK. Further, providers established in the UK will cease to have the right to request providers authorised in the EU-27 Member States that are not “major suppliers” (within the meaning of the GATS Reference Paper on Telecommunications Services) to negotiate access and interconnection. Further, they will not have the right to request or be subject to the dispute resolution procedure within the EU, neither for disputes within a Member State nor for cross-border access disputes.

In addition, according to the Notice, as of the withdrawal date, the EU’s regulatory framework leading to low wholesale voice termination rates will no longer apply to EU service providers as regards calls between the EU and the UK. This may lead to increases in the wholesale termination rates for calls from the EU to the UK and ultimately to increased retail tariffs for such calls.

Further, as of the withdrawal date the UK will become a third country for the purposes of EU rules on roaming.

Providers of roaming services to roaming customers operating in the EU will no longer benefit, when requesting wholesale roaming access, from the obligation of mobile network operators operating in the UK to meet all reasonable requests for providing wholesale roaming access. They will also no longer benefit from the EU rules on maximum wholesale roaming charges that visited network operators operating in the UK may charge for the provision of wholesale roaming services within the EU. This will also apply, vice versa, to roaming providers operating in the UK.

Roaming customers of roaming providers operating in the EU will no longer benefit from the retail obligation of their roaming provider not to levy any surcharge in addition to the domestic retail price on them for the use in the UK of roaming services, subject to fair use. However, they will continue to benefit from the transparency obligations set out in the Roaming Regulation (531/2012/EU). Again, this will also apply, vice versa to roaming customers of roaming providers operating in the UK. To read the Notice in full, click here.