BEREC Guidelines on Regulation (EU) No 531/2012, as amended by Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 and by Regulation (EU) 2017/920 (Wholesale Roaming Guidelines)
These Wholesale Roaming Guidelines replace the BEREC Guidelines of 2012 (BoR (12) 107) which concern the wholesale roaming access obligations for MNOs and the rights for access seekers on the application of Article 3 of Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 (hereafter “Roaming Regulation”). The revision of the BEREC Guidelines of 2012 was necessary to include the changes to the Roaming Regulation as set out in Regulation (EU) 2017/920 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017 amending Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 as regards rules for wholesale roaming markets.
This document contains the guidance which BEREC is required to publish under the Roaming Regulation relating to the application of Article 3. The guidance is not presented as an official legal interpretation. Nevertheless, NRAs are required to take the guidance into utmost account when resolving any disputes or taking any enforcement actions concerning Article 3. In particular, where NRAs make a decision, which departs from this guidance, they will be expected to state objective reasons for the departure.
According to Article 3 (1) Roaming Regulation, mobile network operators (MNOs) shall meet all reasonable requests for wholesale roaming access, comprising of direct wholesale roaming access and wholesale roaming resale access. Direct access means that the retail provider contracts directly with a foreign EEA visited network for the purpose of allowing roaming customers to access the roaming services of the retail provider. It is worth noting that “direct” access is not necessarily physical. The concept also includes the possibility of a direct charging agreement between retailer and visited network operator, in conjunction with physical access negotiated with a host MNO. Resale access means that the retail provider bases its retail service on the wholesale service provided by an MNO usually, but not necessarily, in the end user’s home country.
As from 1 July 2012, the roaming access agreements have fallen within the scope of Article 3 and its later amendments and request for other variants of direct or resale access must be met, provided only that they are reasonable, irrespective of whether the access seeker is an MNO, MVNO or reseller without systems.
The Guidelines apply to “regulated” roaming services, as defined in the Regulation. Except where the Regulation explicitly applies to other services, the Regulation applies immediately to EU Member States. The Roaming Regulation also applies to the EEA EFTA states Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The amended obligations in Regulation (EU) 2017/920 will also apply when they are incorporated in the EEA agreement.