ICT Working Group session

11-05-2017 | 20:00

The 8th session of the International Working Group on Research of Competition Issues in the ICT sector will be held on May 24, 2017 in Istanbul (Turkey).

TO REGISTER FOR THE EVENT: please contact

ictworkinggroup@rekabet.gov.tr

Ms. Ebru INCE: eince@rekabet.gov.tr

Ms. Anna Atanasian: atanasian@fas.gov.ru

The Working Group was organized at the initiative of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation and the Turkish Competition Authority in 2012, previously known as the International Working Group on Research of Competition Issues in the Market of International Telecommunications (Roaming), in which representatives of competition authorities and sector regulators from over thirty countries of all the worlds regions and many international organizations took part. Its principal purpose - implementation of measures aimed at enhancing competition in the telecommunications market and lowering of tariffs in roaming – was successfully reached by its member countries.

The experience gained through the previous seven sessions has proved that the framework of the Working Group should be extended to competition issues in the digital economy. The relevance of such extension was caused by the international wave of cases against transnational digital companies for violating antitrust legislation. The competition law enforcement in this field shows outstanding practices at both national and international level (shortcomings in the competition law with regard to determination of the digital market products or services, lack of efficient tools of authorities’ cooperation in transnational investigations, etc.).

ICT sector is among the fastest growing industries of recent decades. It has been transforming economies at an incredible pace due to its spanning over effects throughout the economy. Therefore, in today’s knowledge economy, ICT sector is at the heart of the economic growth, change and efficiency.  

ICT sector is of particular interest to competition community, this interest is not solely due to increasing prominence of digital economy, but also due to distinctive competitive conditions these markets have. Competition in ICT markets are in crucial ways different from competition in traditional markets. Main products being software, data and content lead to “blurred” markets in terms of territorial boundaries and content. Besides, ICT sector is heavily based on platform-based business models, multi-sided and interconnected markets, network effects and economies of scale, which lead to more complex competition issues.  

The importance of ICT sector for the economy and distinctive characteristics of ICT markets along with the pace and scope of technological change require competition authorities and sector regulators to devote a high amount of their time to competition issues and keep a close eye on and respond quickly to changes. New challenges for competition community almost appear instantaneously in ICT markets concerning interaction between sectoral regulators and competition authorities, methods of big data collection, processing and analysis, sharing economy, multi-sided markets, network neutrality, bid-rigging by using algorithms of price formation, protection of confidential information and personal data, digital value chains, limitations to intellectual property rights, etc.

At the 8th Session of the ICT Working Group, we invite competition experts to discuss the following two interrelated hot topics:

I.  COMPETITION LAW AND REGULATION IN THE CONVERGING TELECOMMUNICATIONS, MEDIA AND IT SECTORS: HOW TO ASSESS MULTI-PLAY BUNDLES?

Traditional telecoms operators with the increased use of the Internet protocol (IP) in the core network and the growth of network capacity in the access network have begun to deliver content-based services (including linear broadcast TV and on-demand services) over their existing network infrastructure. At the same time, technological progress has enabled cable networks to provide two-way voice and data offerings, at considerable speeds. These advances have led to a convergence in the telecommunications, media and IT sectors in which operators are now offering consumers multi-play bundles: a range of bundled service packages of voice, broadband, pay-TV and/or mobile.

The abovementioned convergence in telecommunications, media and IT sectors have led to questions in the competition analysis concerning market definition in the face of “competition for the home” and infrastructure convergence. The participants of the session are invited to discuss the following:

1. Market definition in the face of “competition for the home” and infrastructure convergence (OTT services)

2. Competitive analysis of issues such as bundle offers, cross-substitution etc.

II.  ESSENTIAL FEATURES AND ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF DIGITAL MARKETS

ICT markets have a number of specific features that determine market players and have significance for the implementation of competition law. The main products in ICT markets are software, data, and content, which are characterized by immateriality, zero value of replication and transportation. Furthermore, the ICT markets are tied up with related markets. Their features include the gratuitousness of goods provision and the difficulty or impossibility of defining the quantitative indicators of market. This is also taking into account multi-sided markets and influence of different groups of merchants and purchasers on aspects of the market functioning.

Based on the necessity to form systemic approaches in regulation of sectors and relations of market participants involved in the digital economy, the participants of the session are invited to discuss the following:

1. Market analysis: main approaches, product definition, multilateral relations assessment, and quantitative analysis

2. Qualitative assessment of shares of IT market participants (where quantitative assessment is not possible)

3. Definition of market size