The Commission has consistently stated, including in its press release, that the successful development of 5G networks is a “key priority”. On 13 March, the UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom finalised its rules for the next auction of 700 MHz and 3.6-3.8 GHz frequencies for 5G services. For telecommunications companies considering either consolidation or cooperation to ensure that the bill for the introduction of 5G across Europe (up to EUR 500 billion) does not undermine their economic viability, this case is a useful indication of the attitude that Commissioner Vestager will adopt to ensure her dual role as a guardian of competition and digital policy makers. 5G is a success for all stakeholders, especially European consumers. In this strictly regulated company, network-sharing agreements are commonplace, especially when they bring benefits to consumers (for example. B better services, innovations and lower prices). However, the Commission must take into account the specifics of the case, since market conditions and local rules vary from state to state. Over the past 20 years, the Czech Republic has had only three licensed telecommunications operators and telecommunications services remain expensive compared to the rest of the European Union. Therefore, the Commission will have to decide whether the sharing agreement in question and its declared benefits to customers actually support competition in the defined market. O2 CZ and T-Mobile CZ are major operators in the Czech mobile phone market. O2 CZ`s mobile and wholesale business was sold to CETIN, a network infrastructure company owned by the same group. European Commission Competition Policy Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “Operators who use common networks generally benefit consumers in terms of faster introduction, cost reduction and coverage in rural areas.
However, if there is evidence that cooperative agreements could be detrimental to consumers, it is our duty to look at them and ensure that markets remain truly competitive. In this case, we are concerned that the network-sharing agreement between the two major Czech operators will reduce competition in the more densely populated areas of the country. The Commission believes that, in this case, instead of increasing the efficiency and improvement of the quality of services, the network sharing agreement will likely eliminate incentives for both mobile operators to improve their networks and services for the benefit of users. The Commission`s analysis is in line with the principles applied by the Body of European Electronic Communications Regulators (ORECE) in its common position of 13 June 2019 on the sharing of mobile infrastructure. Perhaps the context of the merger investigation is more interesting. The joint venture is part of a wider cooperation between the two operators, which aims to accelerate the deployment of 5G in Italy (TIM and Vodafone plan to extend existing “passive” network sharing agreements to the whole of Italy and to share the “active” infrastructure of their 2G, 4G and 5G networks in certain areas.