Turk Internet: You were also talking about the independency of the regulatory bodies. What do you think about Turkish regulatory within this context?
Fabio Colasanti: I cannot give an opinion on that. This is again something that will have to be judged by the market operators and by everyone in Turkey whether they think that the regulatory in Turkey is doing a good work. But independency is important because sometimes the regulator has to take some unpopular measures.
Regulators cannot always intervene to lower price, to make services available to everybody. Reducing the prices now in short time makes all of us happy but in the medium term that might mean that we will not have certain services.
So the independence of a regulator is important. And it is especially important (that they are independent) from the political world. I have seen pressure from political world on the regulators in many countries. In certain situations these pressures were to act in a bit populist way that does not help the development of the sector. And this is why the independency is very necessary.
Turk Internet: As European Union you are also sometimes have problems with national regulatory bodies. During Mrs.Viviane Reding commisionery period, Europen Union has given some penalties to some European regulatory bodies. Like German, Spanish and Portugal regulators as I can remember.
Fabio Colasanti: The application of the regulation is a collective responsibility of all the 27 regulators plus the European Commission. And there are a number of cases, there have been a number of cases where we disagreed with certain measures taken by the national regulator. And we asked them to withdraw these measures. In certain cases we had to power to ask them to withdraw the measure, but in some other cases for instance when it comes to remedies, we do not have this power and we can just make comments. But these comments don’t cover a binding character. Sometimes we have been disappointed because for instance certain regulators have done the market analysis, identified the problems and then failed to take the necessary measures. And in these cases it’s difficult to act but it’s clearly a negation of the goals of the regulatory frame.
Turk Internet: Actually I think to regulate the telecom sector is very difficult because at one point a regulatory body should be taking care of the rights of the consumers, but on the other side –as Vodafone’s CEO Mr. Colao once said– it should also “take care of the telecom sector” because as you know margins are going very tight…
Fabio Colasanti: But one should always keep in mind that the goals of regulation are not fixed by the regulators, but by laws. The regulators have to apply the law. So whether one has to match the competition or one wants to achieve it, this should be spelled out by the law. The regulator has to apply the law and has to explain how it has applied the law, so that there could be a juridical review of its actions. But the goals, whether we have to match regulation or whether we want to have more protection for consumers or we have gone too far in protection of consumers are political decisions that has to be taken in law. It is not a choice of the regulator.
Turk Internet: And now I would like to ask you about media. We are also responsible for media.
Fabio Colasanti: Yes, but the responsibilities of European Union on this area are limited and are different.
Turk Internet: What do you think about Turkey (within this context)? You know we have two regulatory bodies in Turkey, one for telecom sector and the other for media sector. Should we emerge these two bodies into one regulator or where should be the boarder?
Fabio Colasanti: There are no rules at the European level on this. It is a choice for every member state. We see that in at least 3 European countries, in Finland, UK and Italy, the choice has been made to have a convergent regulator that deals with all the visual and electronic communications.
I know that some other countries are also considering that, but still the majority has preferred to have 2 separate regulators. I would say this is entirely a choice for the country but there is just one point that I had to insist on certain countries: If a government wants to change the current arrangements and either separate or merge the regulators, they certainly have the possibility of doing that. But this change in the structure should not be used as a disguised way of firing the existing regulators.
Because we find that a discretionary firing of the existing regulators is not allowed. I recently had a meeting with a Minister from a country who was considering merging two existing regulators and I told him clearly: “You are welcome to do that. But this decision will coming to fact once the mandate of the two existing bodies expires. It cannot become in a target way of firing the present regulators.”
Turkish translation of this part can be read at Fabio Colasanti : Reglasyonun Hedefi, Reglatrlerce Deil, Kanunlar Tarafndan Belirlenir – 2