GSMA and ETNO position in relation to the proposal for a Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services

June 20, 2018

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The GSMA and ETNO welcome the European Commission’s targeted approach aimed at tackling a number of identified issues with regard to the contractual relationships between online platforms and their business customers.

  • A EU-wide approach to imbalances surrounding lack of transparency, unilateral change of terms and conditions, delisting and ranking of users is necessary to address legal fragmentation in the single market and ensure a healthy internet ecosystem which supports competition, diversity and choice.
  • In order to ensure proportionality, not to hinder innovation and the development of welfare enhancing platforms, the Regulation should include high thresholds and focus only on large platforms that are gatekeepers with strong bargaining power.
  • It is regrettable that the proposal fails to address some crucial issues that may arise in the contractual relations with large online players with major economic impact, such as discrimination and unfair practices. Better transparency alone is not sufficient to correct the asymmetries and power imbalance between large platforms and their users when the latter have little or no choice among similar competing platforms. Based on reasonably high thresholds, some basic safeguards should be added, to complement the proposed light-touch measures.
  • However services that may be qualified as online platforms according to the definition in Art. 2 and that already fall under sector specific provisions should be exempted from the regulation to avoid legal inconsistency and regulatory burdens.
  • The establishment of an Observatory and a mandatory automatic review is crucial to explicitly address those issues not yet sufficiently covered in this first step of regulation.
  • Finally, competition law, which applies to market failures, currently does not effectively tackle all issues such as discrimination and unfair practices that harm business users.

Continue reading: ETNO-GSMA position paper on P2B Regulation

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