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Network access and interconnection
What rules, requirements and procedures govern network-to-network access and interconnection?
While the Electronic Communications Act is the primary telecoms legislation, access and interconnection matters are mainly regulated by the Access and Interconnection Regulation and the Market Analysis Regulation. In other words, the Electronic Communications Act provides a general framework for access and interconnection obligations, whereas the Access and Interconnection Regulation and the Market Analysis Regulation set out detailed rules and principles.
The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) is entitled to impose one or more access obligations on operators with significant market power in accordance with the provisions of the Electronic Communications Act, the Access and Interconnection Regulation and the Market Analysis Regulation. The Access and Interconnection Regulation restates the principle of freedom to contract and the entitlement of copper-fastening operators to negotiate free access agreements subject to the general conditions of their authorisations and any other restrictions imposed by the ICTA.
Most of the obligations that can be imposed on operators with significant market power under:
- the Electronic Communications Act;
- the Access and Interconnection Regulation; and
- the Market Analysis Regulation are similar to those provided in the EU Regulatory Framework.
Therefore, similarly to the EU Regulatory Framework, under Turkish law additional obligations can be imposed only on operators found to have significant market power following a market analysis.
Are access/interconnection prices subject to regulation?
As a general rule, operators freely determine access tariffs, including interconnection and other terms and conditions of the access agreements by taking into account the principles laid down in the Access and Interconnection Regulation. However, the ICTA may require operators with significant market power to determine the access tariffs on a cost basis. Article 5 of the Access and Interconnection Regulation states that the following principles must be observed when determining the access tariffs:
- applications that enable users to benefit from electronic communication networks, infrastructures and services at a reasonable fee should be encouraged;
- the fees to be charged for the electronic communication services should be determined based on the cost-effective provision of the services;
- supporting or meeting the cost of a service by the fees of another service must be avoided; and
- fees should not be determined in a manner that prevents, distorts or restricts competition in the market.
How are access/interconnection disputes resolved?
Pursuant to Article 18 of the Access and Interconnection Regulation, in the event of a dispute arising from, or in relation to, an access agreement between operators, any of the relevant operators may request the ICTA to start a settlement procedure. Within 30 days of the date of receipt of the relevant information and documents, the ICTA notifies the relevant operators of its decision to accept or reject the application for a settlement procedure. If the ICTA accepts the settlement request, the ICTA invites the relevant operators to a settlement meeting. The ICTA issues its decision within two months of the start date of the settlement procedure. However, this period may be extended by a maximum of two months if:
- the settlement request relates to a service not previously provided;
- the claim requires a comprehensive study and information collection process; and
- the ICTA deems it necessary in other exceptional circumstances.
Have any regulations or initiatives been introduced or proposed with respect to next-generation access?
Although there are currently no regulations proposed for next-generation access, the Action Plan published by the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications includes significant considerations for next-generation access services. The Action Plan proposes certain steps to improve the next-generation access networks which includes:
- highlighting the significance of joint investments to lower the infrastructure costs; and
- proposing to update and revise the existing legislation to lift the financial burdens from the operators and encourage passive investments.
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