20 November 2009
WRITTEN QUESTION by Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (ALDE) , Judith A. Merkies (S&D) , Lambert van Nistelrooij (PPE) , Wim van de Camp (PPE) , Peter van Dalen (ECR) , Thijs Berman (S&D) , Sophia in ‘t Veld (ALDE) , Marietje Schaake (ALDE) , Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE) and Ria Oomen-Ruijten (PPE) to the Commission
Subject: Germany — First country to auction the digital dividend
To ensure the proper functioning of the internal market it is important that the allocation of these frequencies (a) is done in a coordinated manner across the Member States and (b) promotes wherever possible the development of more competition by facilitating access for new entrants on a non-discriminatory basis and/or by taking away existing barriers to competition.
It appears that the design of the German auction, as decided by the Bundesnetzagentur, not only fails to correct the existing discrimination between first and later entrants (caused by the historical allocation of the more efficient 900 MHz frequencies to the first two entrants, T‑Mobile and Vodafone) but even increases such discrimination.
Commissioner Reding asked the Bundesnetzagentur (in a letter dated 7 October 2009) to amend the auction design. However, notwithstanding this request, the German Government decided to approve the design without changes.
1. Did the Commission receive a reply to its letter of 7 October 2009? If so, does the Commission consider the reply satisfactory? If so, how does the Bundesnetzagentur intend to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market?
2. If the reply is considered to be unsatisfactory, what legal steps will the Commission take to ensure compliance with the aforementioned principles? Will the Commission ensure that these steps are taken before the auction takes place, in order to avoid an irreparable situation? If not, why not?
3. Will the Commission initiate other actions to ensure that the aforementioned principles will be respected in future in other decisions on the allocation or redistribution of frequencies? If not, why not?
Please find the answer here.