Bundesnetzagentur requires mobile network operators to submit a contract for access to regulated wholesale roaming as part of a dispute settlement procedure

Germany‘s national telecoms regulator, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), said it has ordered a German mobile communications company to present to a French company its draft contract on access to regulated roaming charges for large customers.
The decision sets an important impetus for competition and innovation in the wholesale markets, especially in areas such as the Internet of Things or the communication between machines, “explains Jochen Homann , President of the Federal Network Agency, the decision.

Contract for access to wholesale roaming was rejected

Since the abolition of roaming charges in June 2017, the mobile phone usage in other European countries usually costs the end customer just as much as within the German borders. European mobile service providers and network operators conclude special contracts for the settlement of regulated wholesale roaming services for the billing of such data uses.

In this context, a German mobile network operator has rejected a request from a French company to produce such a draft contract. The French company operates as a virtual mobile network operator in several Member States and offers worldwide mobile services in the field of machine-to-machine ( M2M ) and internet-of-things ( IoT ).

The refusal was justified by the fact that the French company provides its SIM cards for the identification of its customers, among other things with special numbers assigned by the International Telecommunication Union ( ITU ) (901 IMSI). These globally assigned numbers would not fall within the scope of the Roaming Regulation.

Dispute settlement procedure of the Federal Network Agency

In a dispute settlement procedure, the Federal Network Agency has obliged the German mobile communications company, after consulting the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), to submit a draft contract on access to regulated wholesale roaming to the French company within one month. The French company should be given the opportunity to use the mobile country code “901 IMSI”.

It was not necessary to decide on the specific conditions, in particular for the proof of the use of the services in accordance with the regulations, and thus on the content of the contract offer. In that regard, negotiations are still taking place between the parties to the dispute.

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