The primary means for everyone gaining access to efficient, secure and affordable electronic communications services is that competition in the market is efficient.
Competition is thus a means to achieving a better situation and not the ultimate objective as such. The market for electronic communications is characterised by a number of factors that limit opportunities for efficient competition. The requirement for access to an extensive network in order to be able to offer services to consumers is one such factor. To build networks requires great investments, which involves an impediment for new stakeholders in the market. Consequently, it is important that new stakeholders are given the opportunity to use existing networks and that the terms and conditions for this use are clear and fair. The stakeholders who own networks and at the same time offer services to consumers may, for example through their pricing, make it difficult for other stakeholders to compete. Pricing can relate to both consumer prices and the prices that other stakeholders have to pay. As regards networks for mobile telephony, there are also technical limitations on how many networks can exist within one area. Stakeholders who are already in the market thus have great advantages compared with new stakeholders who wish to enter the market.
The EU and its Member States have created rules to promote efficient competition. PTS will analyse the situation within a number of relevant markets in the market for electronic communications. If there are competition problems in a relevant market, PTS will identify which stakeholders have significant power in the market. Subsequently, PTS will decide on obligations for these stakeholders, for example on granting other stakeholders access to networks or services. PTS will not decide on rules in markets where efficient competition prevails. All Member States will implement this activity.
Examples of decisions with obligations
The opportunities of gaining access to broadband via the telecommunications network, for example ADSL, differ a lot depending on where you live in Sweden. Telia Sonera controls the telecommunications network and is in many places the only operator that can offer broadband. PTS has by a decision concluded that Telia Sonera has significant power in the broadband market. This decision means that Telia Sonera is liable to offer access to its network to other operators who wish to offer broadband by locating in their own equipment in the telecom stations. Furthermore, PTS decided that Telia Sonera should offer a more pre-packaged broadband service to other operators. This service is suitable far out in the countryside where the customers today are so few that it is not profitable for new operators to fit their own equipment. The objective is that more consumers will gain access to broadband, that freedom of choice will increase and prices will reduce. PTS is also working in other ways to improve competition. In some cases it may be sufficient to describe the markets and provide information about them in order to discover and rectify competition problems. Each year in various reports PTS describes, among other things, the Swedish telecommunications market, the competition situation in the broadband area and broadband development in Sweden.
PTS also resolves disputes between operators, conducts compliance activities in relation to the operators, and also formulates and decides on regulations and licences.
PTS also works with measures to promote competition in the postal sector.