BEREC adopts Guidelines on Wholesale Roaming
09 June 2017
Wholesale Roaming Guidelines concern the wholesale roaming access obligations for mobile network operators and the rights for access seekers on the application of Article 3 of Regulation 531/2012. In the document BEREC provides guidance to the NRAs, which are required to take the utmost account of it in resolving any disputes or taking any enforcement action concerning Article 3. According to the mentioned Article, mobile network operators must meet all reasonable requests for wholesale roaming access, comprising of direct wholesale roaming access and wholesale roaming resale access.
The new Guidelines replaces the BEREC Guidelines of 2012 (BoR (12) 107), the revision of which was necessary to include the changes of the amended Roaming Regulation.
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.