What was the client issue?

ComReg, the Irish communications regulator, asked us to help it determine when, and how, it should intervene in order to implement the obligation it imposed on eircom, following a finding of significant market power in the wholesale and retail fixed voice access market, not to ‘unreasonably bundle’ fixed voice access services. 

How did we help the client solve it?

We designed a ‘net revenue test’ to allow efficient retail operators to replicate eircom’s bundled offers with fixed voice access. Bearing in mind the need to maintain a margin between the dominant operator’s retail and wholesale prices, we extended our test to cover bundled offers. Working with ComReg on the practical application of the framework, we reviewed eircom data to demonstrate compliance with the remedy. More recently, we also advised ComReg on adjusting the test, in light of developments in the Irish telecoms market.

Why was the outcome compelling for the client?

Our framework was one of the first examples in Europe of a comprehensive ex ante regulatory framework dealing with bundled offers. Moreover, with competition in the Irish market for stand-alone voice and broadband services only just emerging, there was a risk that some operators might not be able to compete effectively in the market. This would have been bad news for consumers. Our framework was instrumental in helping ComReg not only to avoid this outcome, but to oversee the continued growth of access-based competitors in the Irish market.