15 Dec 2016
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 14 DECEMBERBrussels Daily
Major steps towards a Digital Single Market: Commission welcomes agreement on the use of high-quality radio frequencies and adopts “fair use policy” to make the end of roaming charges work
Last night, negotiators from the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached a political agreement on an EU-wide approach for the use of the ultra-high frequency band of 700 MHz for mobile services, an important milestone and the first agreement under the Digital Single Market strategy. The 700 MHz band will be made available for wireless broadband, thus facilitating the introduction of 5G as of 2020. The deal will improve internet access for all Europeans, including those who live in rural areas, and help develop innovative cross-border applications, while securing frequencies for a vibrant audio-visual sector. Last night’s agreement builds on a proposal presented by the Commission in February 2016. The European Parliament and the Council are now expected to formally endorse the agreement in the coming weeks. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: “Better spectrum coordination is vital to provide higher quality internet to all Europeans. It paves the way for 5G, the next generation of communication networks, and the internet of things. We made a first important step and we will continue our work towards a more efficient use of spectrum, which is one of the main objectives of our new Electronic Communications Code and 5G action plan presented earlier this year.” (See also the recent blog post on Connectivity, radio spectrum and the Digital Single Market: preparing for the future). Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: “A coordinated strategy for the whole ultra-high frequency band asserts our European vision. It ensures that Europeans can access innovative services and creative content on the move from their tablets and smartphones, as well as on smart TV sets at home.” Following the vote by Member States’ Representatives on Monday (see joint statement), this morning the Commission also formally adopted a “fair use policy” and an associated sustainability mechanism to make the end of roaming charges work for travellers as of 15 June 2017. This Implementing Act can be found here. More information will be available here. A press release on the Commission’s proposal was also published last week, with a statement by Vice-President Ansip. On last night’s spectrum agreement, a press release is available here.
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over ILAC Shopping Centre by Hammerson and Irish Life
The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over the ILAC Shopping Centre in Ireland by Hammerson plc of the UK and its current owner, Irish Life Assurance plc of Ireland. ILAC is a shopping centre situated in Dublin, which comprises a mix of more than 80 retailers and catering units. Hammerson owns, develops and manages commercial real estate in Europe. Irish Life is a life and pensions company that provides protection, pensions and savings products to clients across retail, corporate and investment management businesses. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, because of its limited impact on the market structure. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8229.
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