The draft law on market competition was given the green light for the first reading in the Senate chamber. We are now waiting for the annual bill on the market and market competition for 2022 to reach the House for the second parliamentary adoption. The text is part of Italy’s commitments within the PNR and intervenes in various sectors: from energy to telecommunications, via trade. Following the work of the Palazzo Madama Commission for Industry, the provision approved by the Council of Ministers on April 20 consists of 21 articles: 10 more than the basic text.
“The approval of the draft law on market competition today in the Senate represents a further significant step forward towards the modernization of our country, thanks to the removal of anachronistic regulatory obstacles and the introduction of measures for the benefit of the competitiveness of companies and consumer rights – he comments Minister of Economy Adolfo Urso – These are the goals that our Government, moreover, is pursuing with all its measures, as happened with the Property Regulation, which introduced greater competition and transparency in the taxi and air traffic sectors. I thank the senators for the important contribution they made during the consideration of the Draft Law, with the aim of bringing it to final approval in the House of Representatives by the end of the year, thus respecting the obligations undertaken under the Pnrr. Until now, the Competition Act has never been approved for two consecutive years: in fifteen years, since 2009, previous governments have completed it only twice, in 2017 and 2022. This will be the third, with an implementation horizon of every year according to the law, exactly and decisively. We said it and did it. This is the government that works”.
There are two new developments on the TLC front: increasing electromagnetic restrictions and attacking the operator.
5G and electromagnetic restrictions
In the field of telecommunications, the adjustment of electromagnetic field restrictions for the development of the 5G network is of particular importance. In particular, it is envisaged that “exposure limits, attention values and quality objectives” will be adjusted “in the light of the latest and accredited scientific evidence”. This therefore results in an increase in the limits from the current 0.6 V/m to 15 V/m “as regards electric field intensity E”.
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However, as regards the “magnetic field intensity H”, the limits would be raised “to a value equal to 0.039 A/m, and as regards the power density D to a value equal to 0.59 W/m2”. These last two values are the result of the amendment presented by the Government, which further raised the limits compared to what was originally proposed by the majority.
The “operator attack” problem.
The text approved by the Senate introduces the obligation of non-discrimination for providers of electronic communication networks or services into the Electronic Communications Code.. In this case too, the Government intervened with an amendment to define which practices are prohibited by law, and which are being changed another amendment presented by FdI and Lega which aimed to put an end to the practice of allowing telecoms to propose differentiated offers based on the operator of origin.
The government amendment specifically provides that suppliers “may not use information obtained through the mobile number transfer database, as well as that obtained for purely operational purposes, to formulate offers to end users who are subject to general requirements or conditions for accessing or using networks or services, including technical -economic conditions, which differ depending on the original provider of the network or electronic communications service.” The rule effectively re-establishes the current situation, effectively prohibiting only offers already prohibited under Agcom’s provisions.
Mostly there is no stopping practicing the so-called “operator attack”.
The text of the amendment attacks the operator
- Article 98-duodecies of the electronic communications code, in accordance with the legislative decree of August 1, 2003, no. 259, the paragraph is added at the end:
«1-bis. Providers of electronic communication networks or services may not use data collected through the database on the transfer of mobile numbers, as well as data obtained for purely operational purposes, to formulate offers to end users regarding requirements or general conditions of access or use of networks or services, including technical-economic conditions, which differ depending on the original provider of the network or electronic communication service”.
Fixed-term service contracts, more protection for customers
Finally, greater consumer protection is recognized in fixed-term service contracts with a renewal clause. Namely, the law stipulates that “thirty days before the end of the contract, the professional is obliged to inform the consumer of the date by which he can send an official cancellation”. The lack of such communication “allows the consumer, until the subsequent expiration of the contract, to withdraw at any time without costs”.
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