THE WRAP: EC gets tough on telcos; Telecom NZ's record fine

Michael Carroll
21 Apr 2011

The European Commission dominated proceedings this week with declarations on child protection, mobile networks and net neutrality, while Chinese equipment vendors profited on handset sales.

Research showing a quarter of children aged 9 to 16 years leave social network profiles open to all put operators in the EC’s crosshairs. The Commission called for urgent action to protect young users from “groomers and stalkers,” and hinted a voluntary code of conduct signed by several leading firms could be toughened up.

The EC wasted no time in turning its attention to national telecoms regulators, giving them until the end of the year to incorporate new radio harmonization rules into domestic regulations.

ISPs were also in the firing line, with the EC setting communications regulator BEREC on the case to ensure net neutrality rules are properly implemented. The EC wants to know if ISPs prevent users switching provider, tinker with or block access to content, and use misleading data rates in adverts.

Operator’s should hope the EC doesn’t draw inspiration from New Zealand, after incumbent Telecom NZ was slapped with a record NZ$12 million ($9.5 million) fine for overcharging on wholesale access between 2001 and 2004. A judge said the fraud was deliberate and “sanctioned at the highest levels.”

Chinese vendor Huawei detailed an aggressive push into the enterprise and device sectors, as it bids to sustain momentum that saw it grow profit 30% to 23.8 billion yuan ($3.65 billion)in 2010.

The firm is restructuring into four business units covering carrier network, enterprise, devices and ‘other’, with the heads of each division reporting directly to founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei. A staffer told TelecomAsia the enterprise unit will focus on industries including “e-Government, finance, energy, education and retail.”

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