GSMA response on EU competition rules on horizontal agreements
The GSMA has submitted a response to the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition Consultation on EU competition rules on horizontal agreements. Overall, the GSMA believes that current instruments have been so far positive for providing legal certainty to companies engaging in horizontal cooperation agreements. GSMA also considers, however, that those instruments need to be adapted to the changes brought by the digital revolution. European companies, in fact, need to enter into the pro-competitive agreements that are nowadays key to compete in a digital global world. Current rules, unfortunately, do not give the flexibility and legal certainty that are necessary to allow a quick conclusion and implementation of these agreements. Therefore, the GSMA has suggested to complement existing instruments by:
- Introducing a preliminary screening tool for particularly relevant and time-sensitive agreements;
- Adopting new Block Exemption Regulations for: (i) standardisation agreements, (ii) data sharing and data pooling agreements, (iii) agreements aimed at reducing the cost for the roll out of important infrastructures of high public interest and (iv) specialisation agreements aiming to create products and services that compete with those offered by digital giants.
- Expanding the parameters for application beyond market shares
- Inserting provisions, in the Horizontal Cooperation Guidelines, taking into account the impact of data on competition in the relevant markets
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