EETT plans bigger role in the future

The National Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) yesterday pledged to toughen up its act to secure better quality and cheaper telecommunications services for Greeks and to facilitate the growth of e-commerce. «EETT will be more interventionist to ensure that better quality telecommunications services are offered at lower rates and that users will have access to broadband services which will contribute to the spread of e-commerce,» Emmanouil Giakoumakis, president of the regulatory body, said. In the two years since the telecommunications market was deregulated, EETT has played a catalytic role in broadening the range of operators and in bringing down tariffs to EU levels, he said. To date 235 companies have been awarded general permits, while 36 have received special licenses allowing them to provide a wide range of telecommunications services. One of the most visible results of deregulation has been the dramatic fall in rates charged by the incumbent OTE, which in August came to 30.7 cents for a 10-minute local call. This was 16-percent cheaper than a year ago and lower than a similar call in 10 other EU countries, among them the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Compared with the domestic competition, OTE’s charges are only slightly higher. The entrance of new players on the scene, however, barely made a dent in OTE’s near-monopolistic hold on the market. According to an EU report presented by EETT, OTE last year controlled the market in local calls, losing only a 0.4-percent share and 2.5-percent share in long-distance and international calls respectively to its competitors. Giakoumakis said the regulatory body also plans to tighten supervision of the mobile telephony market this year following complaints from new fixed-line operators of high fixed-to-mobile termination charges. Vodafone Panafon and CosmOTE, both judged to be significant market forces, have been urged to lower their rates and not to discriminate against calls regardless of where they originate from or to favor their own clients. EETT’s advisor is due to come up with proposals to the problem.

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