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Regulator denies interconnection right for MVNO

the l.i.n.k., 2002
15. November 2002

On 30 October 2002, the Austrian regulatory authority, Telekom-Control-Kommission, in a landmark decision Z 18/02 denied a Mobile Virtual Network Operator ("MVNO") in the GSM-area the right to interconnect his core network with the networks of the incumbent GSM-operators. On 20 September 2002, the (presumptive) MVNO Tele2, who entered into a National Roaming-Agreement with the GSM-operator Connect Austria, applied for the Regulatory Authority to issue interconnection orders obliging the remaining GSM-network operators to interconnect their networks with the (virtual) network of Tele2. In dismissing this application the regulator surprised the telecommunications industry, because Tele2 was already allocated a mobile network code (MNC) and a carrier access code. An affirmative decision of the regulator granting Tele2 the right to interconnect was therefore generally expected.

The authority opined that Tele2 is an "operator of a self-operated mobile network", i.e., that Tele2 has factual and legal control over its core-network and also – via the National Roaming-Contract – sufficient control over a mobile radio network. The authority therefore concluded that in order to provide public mobile services over a self-operated network, Tele2 would need a mobile telecommunications licence under sec 14 and 20 of the Austrian Telecommunications Act. Since Tele2 only holds a fixed voice telephony licence, the regulator decided that Tele2 is not entitled to interconnect its network for the purpose of mobile service provision.

The decision of Telekom-Control-Kommission is accessible under www.rtr.at .


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