In 2018 the technology, communications and media sectors remain in the spotlight of Competition Commissioner Vestager in Brussels. We expect continued debates on:

  • whether in its merger policy, the Commission must adopt a more relaxed stance - some arguing the EU needs larger tech, comms and media "champions' or a tougher stance - others arguing recent policy was too relaxed particularly in (mobile) communications
  • the legality and impact of the recent 2.42 billion euro fine imposed in the comparison shopping case against a US online search giant under its abuse of dominance rules (now in Court), while other investigations on online search advertising and Android are pending
  • use of (pricing) algorithms which according to some may lead to new forms of collusion and thus new types of EU antitrust cases
  • EU State aid policy regarding billions of EU/national public funds currently being earmarked for broadband, mindful of increased EU broadband targets and the significant impact on infrastructure development business plans

New challenges for antitrust and regulatory watchdogs: contents and barriers to interoperability are likely to increase their relevance in the next few years. The competent authorities, aware of these trends, have started to plan its regulatory activities oriented towards the promotion of competition, the protection of consumers and users, the guarantee of an efficient allocation of the scarce resources, supporting the development of communication networks and digital services, the promotion and protection of pluralism, and the guarantee of equal access to the media and the promotion of a culture of legality in the use of digital works, combining the principles of transparency, effectiveness and efficiency in their administrative action.