5G and regulator in a smartphone: a chance for telecom business

12-02-2020

Deputies and experts finalized a draft law on electronic communications. What will change if it is approved?

The telecom industry is very technological and dynamic. However, in Ukraine, it is still regulated by the legislation adopted over 15 years ago.

Such a regulatory burden hinders the development of telecom business and network engineering adversely affecting the quality of services and consumers.

The Draft Law on Electronic Communications is aimed at improving this situation.

It has been developed by the parliamentary committee on digital transformation under the leadership of the committee’s deputy chairman Oleksandr Fediyenko for several months.

The working group consisted of the representatives of operators, providers, associations and BRDO experts.

The reform is based on the latest developments in the EU – the European Code of Electronic Communications. The EU Member States should implement this document by the end of 2020. By adopting the document, Ukraine will get a chance to introduce new approaches in step with EU countries.

We have already talked about the benefits that mobile telecommunications consumers will receive if the draft law on electronic communications is adopted. Let’s consider the benefits that the draft law provides for businesses and network development.

Technological neutrality

It is the right of operators to use technologies without bureaucratic obstacles.

Different technologies such as 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G are used to provide mobile communications. Ukraine is one of the last countries in Europe to introduce3G and 4G technologies. The reason for that delay is the lack of technological neutrality: the state did not allow the three largest operators to use the latest technologies.

It took years of political struggle before the operators started to use them.

Technical neutrality gives access to new mobile communication technologies. If an operator wants to use some new technology to provide services, this is its right and an opportunity to grow its business. This will allow Ukrainians to access state-of-the-art communications technologies faster.

The telecommunications industry is very technological and dynamic. However, in Ukraine, it is still regulated by the legislation adopted over 15 years ago.

Such a regulatory burden hinders the development of telecom business and network engineering adversely affecting the quality of services and consumers.

The Draft Law on Electronic Communications is aimed at improving this situation.

It has been developed by the parliamentary committee on digital transformation under the leadership of the committee’s deputy chairman Oleksandr Fediyenko for several months.

The working group consisted of the representatives of operators, providers, associations and BRDO experts.

The reform is based on the latest developments in the EU – the European Code of Electronic Communications. EU Member States should implement this document by the end of 2020. By adopting the document, Ukraine will get a chance to introduce new approaches in step with EU countries.

We have already talked about the benefits that mobile telecommunications consumers will receive if the draft law on electronic communications is adopted. Let’s consider the benefits that the draft law provides for businesses and network development.

Technological neutrality

It is the right of operators to use technologies without bureaucratic obstacles.

Different technologies such as 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G are used to provide mobile communications. Ukraine is one of the last countries in Europe to introduce3G and 4G technologies. The reason for that delay is the lack of technological neutrality: the state did not allow the three largest operators to use the latest technologies.

It took years of political struggle before the operators started to use them.

Technical neutrality gives access to new mobile communication technologies. If an operator wants to use some new technology to provide services, this is its right and an opportunity to grow its business. This will allow Ukrainians to access state-of-the-art communications technologies faster.

European investments

The draft law is harmonized with the European regulation. This means that the game rules in the Ukrainian market will become clear to companies operating in the EU.

The requirements of Ukrainian legislation for providers and operators, including the permit system, as well as the regulator’s powers, will be in line with EU standard practices. That is, the Ukrainian electronic communications market will become more attractive to European investors.

Cheaper network engineering

The draft law on electronic communications sets out the mechanisms to reduce the cost of deploying fixed and mobile broadband Internet networks by facilitating operators’ access to the infrastructure.

In practice, this implies the obligation of physical infrastructure owners to provide the providers with access to it for network construction, a single information office on co-location and use of infrastructure elements and the resolution of infrastructure access disputes by the regulator (National Commission for the State Regulation of Communications and Informatization (NCCIR).

In such a way, the network engineering will be less expensive and competition will increase. This will encourage operators and providers to offer better services and expand their coverage.

Simplified 5G network deployment

The draft law proposes to allow operators to deploy low-power base stations under a simplified procedure without assigning radio frequencies to individual equipment.

This means the flexibility and no bureaucratic obstacles in the development of 5G networks.

Effective use of radio frequency resource

The Radio Frequency Resource (RFR) as a component of the radio frequency spectrum suitable for transmitting and receiving electromagnetic energy by radio-electronic equipment is physically restricted. It is distributed between different operators.

Currently, the operators are prohibited from making their spectrum available to third parties. This does not allow the operators to be flexible and effective in using it. As a result, the RFR may “stand idle” or be not fully used. This has a negative impact on the quality of services for subscribers.

The draft law proposes to allow operators to transfer the spectrum for use to third parties – the so-called spectrum sharing practiced in EU countries. In Ukraine, this will be coordinated by the NCCIR. The reasons for refusal are described in the draft law.

Objective understanding of network coverage

Now, no government agency has complete information on Internet coverage (BBA) of the country. The draft law proposes to oblige the regulator to carry out geographic network overviews and update the data at least once a year.

This will allow the state to decide on the need to build networks in the regions where there are no networks. This will be the basis to bridge the digital divide.

The regulator in a smartphone

The draft law provides for the possibility of full interaction of business and citizens with the regulator in electronic form. An electronic platform will be created for this purpose. It will provide administrative services along with access to registers and databases.

Special attention is paid to information in the format of open data. Anyone will be able to access public information in a convenient format and create services for citizens or businesses on its basis.

The draft law provides for comprehensive legislative changes and the introduction of new regulatory approaches (it contains more than 130 articles), so the market players may have questions about different aspects of the document.

Almost all of the fundamental contradictions were resolved within the working group that drafted the law. However, some market players still have some reservations.

In particular, concerning a significant increase in fines for violation of subscribers’ rights, a new approach to market analysis by the regulator and a change in the approach to defining and regulating universal services, to which the broadband access is referred.

Currently, much of the issues of operators and providers relate to technical aspects or fears about a broader interpretation of rules by the regulator. I am sure that they will be resolved during the consideration of the draft law by the parliamentarians.

I hope that the Parliament will support the long-awaited reform of the telecommunications market, which will promote the development of services, networks and protection of subscribers as well as bring Ukraine closer to the harmonization of the digital market with the EU.

Source: epravda.com.ua