On 17 December 2020, EMERG held a virtual meeting with BEREC for the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations. EMERG was represented by Samer Ali, EMERG Chair 2020 (MTIT Palestine) and Paola Calestani, Member of the EMERG Permanent Secretariat (AGCOM Italy); BEREC was represented by Dan Sjoblom, Chair BEREC 2020, Michel Van Bellinghen, Chair BEREC 2021, László Ignéczi, Director BEREC Office, Tom Boyce (ComReg, Ireland), Ola Bergström, (PTS, Sweden).

EMERG representatives underlined the importance of the renewal of the cooperation between the two regional platforms, giving continuity to the agreements and the activities fruitfully undertaken in the previous years: one of the main EMERG goals is the approximation to the European regulatory framework in the electronic communications sector and BEREC has been recognised more and more as crucial partner to help EMERG in reaching this strategic objective.

The two parts agreed on holding joint workshops and on setting up common experts working groups in the coming years, when feasible. In particular, the suggested topics of cooperative relationship are the followings:

  • Promotion of competition in markets, services, infrastructures, supporting the digital transformation.
  • Connectivity and 5G networks: regulatory challenges.
  • Broadband deployment and promotion of NGA/VHCN roll-out.
  • Promotion of investment by means of a pro-competitive regulation.
  • How to overcome the Digital divide.
  • Spectrum management.
  • International roaming tariffs.
  • Open Internet / Net neutrality.
  • Consumer protection and end-users’ interests in the electronic communications ecosystem.
  • Administrative procedures and operational issues concerning the NRAs’ activity.

EMERG held, virtually, its third 2020 workshop about International Roaming on 7 December. The Workshop was chaired by Naama Henig, representing the Ministry of Communication of Israel (MOC) and Chair of the EMERG International roaming Expert working group and it was hosted by ANACOM (Portugal), EMERG Incoming Chair.

Initially, Arnulf Heuermann (DETECON) gave an overall introduction on the topic at stake, giving updates about the work done by the EMERG EWG:

International Roaming: Regulatory Options, ECOWAS Regional Roaming and Status of the EMERG Working Group – Arnulf Heuermann DETECON

Then, Liliia Malon (Ukarine) EaPeReg Network – Eastern Partnership Member, in charge of International roaming, gave a presentation on the experience in the regional area they cover. EMERG cooperation with EaPeReg is becoming more and more fruitful and it is s strengthening also for the next year.

Roaming Initiative of the Eastern Partnership countries EMERG WS on International RoamingLiliia Malon EaPeReg Roaming EWG Chair

Then, Manuel Costa Cabral (ANACOM) presented the experience of the  international roaming working group within the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (CPLP)

The international roaming working group within the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (CPLP) – Manuel Costa Cabral (ANACOM) 

 

The EMERG Plenary assembly will be held via videoconference from Palestine on 23 June 2020, chaired by MTIT, EMERG Chair 2020. Due to COVD-19 emergency, it was not possible to organise a physical meeting as planned at the Contact network  in Frankfurt.

According to the EMERG Charter the Plenary’s tasks are:

  • Appointing the Chair 2021;
  • 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

A public version of the Agenda will be published in due course.

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.