The European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation into the State's fixed-voice telephony markets in a move described as worrying by Irish telcos.
The inquiry is to examine communication regulator ComReg’s analysis of retail and wholesale fixed access and call-origination services.
The investigation comes after the commission voiced “serious doubts” over the regulator’s analysis, the draft version of which was sent for approval last month.
The commission has queried ComReg's conclusion that the Irish telephony market needs measured deregulation and it has also expressed concern over ComReg's conclusion that Eir has significant power to harm competition. The commission is undecided on whether Eir holds such power.
Alto, an umbrella group that represents all the big telecom companies bar Eir, has written to the commission under article 32 procedures to reiterate the need to ensure market dynamics here are considered fully in line with ComReg's conclusions.
The organisation is supportive of the work undertaken by ComReg on the issues under review, telling the commission of the lack of migration facilities provided by Eir, and the overwhelming reliance of new entrants on wholesale line-rental services provided by the incumbent in order to access customers.
Commenting on the investigation, Alto's chairman Ronan Lupton said it "creates huge cause for concern for competition in the Irish market for fixed telecommunications".
“We believe ComReg’s assessment of the fixed-call markets was correct for a measured level of deregulation and the triggers for that measured level of deregulation and sunset periods were appropriate,” he added.
The group is to contact the Body of European Regulators for Electronic communications in the coming days to further relay its concerns, said Mr Lupton.