In 2019, EMERG members decided to explore the possibility to start a project for the development of a regional approach toward international roaming regulation, giving the task to the competent Expert working group, chaired by MOC Israel. To this aim, a first report has been prepared in the context of the EMERG Work Plan 2019 and in accordance with the strategic objectives laid down during EMERG 2019 plenary, which was held in Sarajevo on 26 March 2019. It summarizes the work done by the EMERG IR-EWG and lays down recommendations on how affordable, accessible and reliable roaming services in EMERG region can be provided. The report aims to ensure continuity in workflow and to set the foundations for future discussions on regional roaming agreement among EMERG members.

One of the results of the work done by the IR-EWG members indicates that as concluded by other regional groups, there is a considerable need to regulate roaming services and to ensure their provision on an affordable, accessible and reliable basis. This inference relies on the fundamental acknowledgments that currently, exorbitant international roaming prices undermine consumer benefits and hinder the efforts of EMERG Non-EU members to promote the digital economy and society in their respective countries.

Background

The European Mediterranean Regulators Group (EMERG) was established on July 1st, 2008 in Malta, as an independent platform of National Regulatory Authorities for Electronic Communications Networks and Services.

EMERG is open to any National Regulatory Authority (NRA) concerned with the electronic communications sector that is member of or observer in the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) or party to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership launched within the framework of the Barcelona Declaration of November 28, 1995 and/or to the ENP-South countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Currently, EMERG is integrated by the NRAs of 23 countries: Algeria, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, State of Palestine, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.

Approximation to the European regulatory framework in the electronic communications  has been the primary goal of the EMERG since its establishment in 2008. To this aim, the European Union has supported its activities and sponsored them to enable the participation of the experts from the Southern-Mediterranean Countries, within the ideals and the principles of the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation set out in the Barcelona Declaration of November 28, 1995.

The EMERG Plenary 2019 decided to set up a specific expert working group, chaired by CRA Bosnia and Herzegovina, so to track all the progress made by the EMERG members, in particular South-Mediterranean countries, in this direction.

The purpose of this report is to critically examine and evaluate the progress regarding the electronic communications sector of EMERG member states, in particular the rapprochement of non-EU countries with the EU members. The report maps the progress achieved in the convergence of the telecommunications frameworks as well as comparison of trends and state of regulatory achievement between EU and non EU countries. The special focus is put on the level of approximation achieved within the period of the last three to four years. In the last several years, steps have been taken to approximate EU standards and regulations in certain areas. For the purpose of this report, EMERG conducted a small survey focusing on the most important projects and trends that the regulators have been facing over the past 5 years.

The Report is structured in the following way:

Chapter 1 Introduction;

Chapter 2 presents the development of the EMERG countries in terms of institutional aspects;

Chapter 3 focuses on regulatory developments and measures that have been undertaken by members to achieve rapprochement,

Chapter 4 shows how countries have developed in terms of market parameters; in that regard it is also important to show where discrepancies are persisting, and the reasons behind these differences. Chapter 5 summarizes the findings and evaluates the recommendations made during the EMERG workshops in recent years.

Background

The European Mediterranean Regulators Group (EMERG) was established on July 1st, 2008 in Malta, as an independent platform of National Regulatory Authorities for Electronic Communications Networks and Services.

EMERG is open to any National Regulatory Authority (NRA) concerned with the electronic communications sector that is member of or observer in the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) or party to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership launched within the framework of the Barcelona Declaration of November 28, 1995 and/or to the ENP-South countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Currently, EMERG is integrated by the NRAs of 23 countries: Algeria, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, State of Palestine, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.

 

Since its founding in 2008 EMERG has been funded by the European Commission through NATP I-IV program. The last project, in combination with funding from the Commission, ran from 2016 to 2020, and over the last two years EMERG explored several options to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform in case the Commission were to exclude further funding.

At Rome plenary meeting in 2017, EMERG started discussing on the future sustainability, investigating different options at stake, following a survey circulated on the benefits perceived by the Members over the years. The result showed that “best practice”, “cooperation” and “networking” were considered the most important.

In 2019, the EMERG plenary decided to give to the EMERG Sustainability working group, chaired by NTRA Egypt, as main task, to prepare a report summarising the various options, the associated conditions and their advantages and disadvantages for the EMERG future sustainability.

However, as main outcome of the Report, it is clear that EMERG needs the support of a third-party funding, preferably the European Union, considering the work done by the South-Mediterranean countries and their progress towards the approximation to the EU regulatory framework.

Background

The European Mediterranean Regulators Group (EMERG) was established on July 1st, 2008 in Malta, as an independent platform of National Regulatory Authorities for Electronic Communications Networks and Services.

EMERG is open to any National Regulatory Authority (NRA) concerned with the electronic communications sector that is member of or observer in the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) or party to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership launched within the framework of the Barcelona Declaration of November 28, 1995 and/or to the ENP-South countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Currently, EMERG is integrated by the NRAs of 23 countries: Algeria, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, State of Palestine, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.

The EMERG/Contact network meeting is the preparatory meeting for the EMERG Activities for 2020.

According to the EMERG Charter, the Members have to discuss the following issues:

  • Discuss the yearly Benchmarking Report, and approve the draft to be presented to the Plenary Assembly;
  • Assess the implementation of the Work-plan and the recommendations and decisions adopted by the Plenary Assembly;
  • Ensure and plan the follow-up of these recommendations and decisions;
  • Discuss the tasks and rules of procedures of the Secretariat and propose modifications to the Plenary Assembly whenever necessary;
  • Follow up on the development, enhancement, and efficient utilization of EMERG website;
  • Study the issues of common interest likely to be the object of debates and discussions during the Plenary Assembly;
  • Propose any document to be approved and/or published to the Plenary Assembly;
  • Propose a draft agenda for the following Plenary Assembly.

 EMERG Members considered the proposals for the work plan 2020 and collected volunteers for hosting the workshops and for chairing them as rapporteur.

Furthermore, the EMERG CN called for volunteers to serve as EMERG Chair in 2021. At the same time, EMERG CN opened the same call for Members of the Permanent Secretariat, considering that CRA (Bosnia and Herzegovina), as outgoing Chair, and MTIT (Palestine) as Chair 2020 are part of it.

2019 was a very fruitful year for EMERG and during the CN three reports, drafted by the competent expert working groups in cooperation with the consultants, namely:

-EMERG Report on International Roaming (International Roaming EWG chaired by MOC Israel)

-EMERG Report on Sustainability (Sustainability EWG chaired by NTRA Egypt)

-EMERG Report on Approximation to the EU Framework (Approximation EWG Chaired by CRA Bosnia and Herzegovina)

 

 

 

 

Communications Regulatory Agency (CRAas EMERG Chair 2019, invited the EMERG Members to the Plenary assembly that will be held in Sarajevo on 26 March 2019. According to the EMERG Charter the Plenary’s tasks are:

  • Appointing the new Chairman and the new Vice-Chairman;
  • Appointing the members of the Permanent Secretariat;
  • Establishing Expert Working Groups and appointing their Chair or co-chairs.
  • Approving the Work-plan;
  • Approving the Annual Report and the Benchmark Report of the previous year and decide on their publication on the EMERG Website;
  • Granting membership and/or observer status to candidates;
  • Adopting and amend the EMERG Charter;
  • Adopting and amend its own rules of procedure, as well as those of the Contact Network and the Permanent Secretariat;
  • Discussing regulatory issues and proposals emerging from the benchmarking or working group activities with a view to approximation

The Plenary meeting will agree on the EMERG sustainability after 2020.

Public AGENDA link:

 

 EMERG Work Plan for 2019

The Work Plan 2019 is the result of a comprehensive, transparent and inclusive procedure, aiming at relaunching the EMERG activities, stimulating the participation of the Members and achieving the main strategic goals for the benefit of both sides of the Mediterranean basin.

With the aim to ensure continuity in the workflow over the year, EMERG agreed that two 2019 workshops serve as a follow-up to the two virtual working groups and cover topics of Net Neutrality and International Roaming.

Namely, at the Plenary meeting in Rome in 2017 Members expressed the need to set up two Expert working groups in order to better consolidate a cooperation among the Members, on the specific topics that push for harmonized approaches, such as Net Neutrality and International Roaming. The two groups were officially activated at the Plenary meeting in Cairo in 2018 and as a follow up to these activities, topics have been included in Working Plan 2019.

Workshop 1: Wholesale Regulation of very high capacity networks (VHCNs)

Workshop 2: Net Neutrality

Workshop 3: International Roaming

Workshop 4:  The new role of regulators in the Era of new ecosystem of telecommunications and the new challenges of telecom’s regulation

The Plenary Assembly appointed the Chair for 2020:

Ministry for Telecommunications and IT MTIT (State of Palestine)

The Permanent Secretariat will also include:

Communications Regulatory Agency CRA (Bosnia and Herzegovina)  EMERG Chair 2019


National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority NTRA (Egypt)  EMERG Chair 2018


Telecommunications Regulation Commission TRC (Jordan)– volunteer


Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni AGCOM (Italy) – volunteer

 

Since 2009 the Euro-Mediterranean Regulators’ Group (EMERG) has undertaken an annual benchmark of its member National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs). The results form the basis for the evaluation of the level of approximation of the southern Mediterranean countries (hereinafter also referred to as MENA countries) with respect to the European Framework for the electronic communications sector and the formulation of the Group’s Annual Work Plan.

There are minor changes in the organization of the 2017 Report compared to the 2016 Benchmark report. The 2017 Report seeks to quantify the rapprochement between MENA and European countries by showing the evolution of individual indicators over time. The use of digitization indices (Network Readiness Index, ITU Development Index) has remained unchanged. Like previous reports information about key performance indicators and trends of the telecom sector has also been collected and an update of the regulatory activities of the EMERG members in 2016 and 2017 is provided.

Chapter 1 of the Report is an introduction. Chapter 2 describes main trends in the telecommunication markets (fixed and mobile) in the EMERG countries based on data provided by EMERG members and other sources such as ITU, the World Bank etc. Chapters 3 to 8 focus on regulatory developments (institutional issues, market entrance conditions, consumer issues etc.) in EMERG countries. Finally, chapter 9 includes Regulatory Fiches from Member States that have participated in the survey.

THE REPORT: Final_EMERG_Benchmark_Report_2017

Study for

EURO-MEDITERRANEAN REGULATORS GROUP

(EMERG)

By:

Detecon International

WIK Consult GmbH