Accept Refuse

EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

European Electronic Communications Code

European Electronic Communications Code

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive (EU) 2018/1972 establishing the European Electronic Communications Code

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?

The directive:

  • establishes a set of updated rules to regulate electronic communications (telecoms) networks, telecoms services, and associated facilities and services;
  • sets out tasks for national regulatory authorities and other competent authorities, and establishes a set of procedures to ensure that the regulatory framework is harmonised throughout the EU;
  • aims to stimulate competition and increased investment in 5G* and very high capacity networks, so that every citizen and business in the EU can enjoy high quality connectivity, a high level of consumer protection and an increased choice of innovative digital services.

KEY POINTS

General objectives

  • promote connectivity and take-up of very high capacity networks, including fixed, mobile and wireless networks, for all EU citizens and businesses;
  • promote the interests of EU citizens by
    • enabling maximum benefits in terms of choice, price and quality through effective competition
    • maintaining network and services security
    • ensuring protection for consumers through specific rules and
    • addressing the needs of specific social groups, in particular people with disabilities, older people and people with special social needs;
  • facilitate market entry and promote competition in the delivery of telecoms networks and associated facilities;
  • contribute to the development of the internal market in telecoms networks and services in the EU, by developing common rules and predictable regulation featuring:
    • the effective, efficient and coordinated use of radio spectrum;
    • open innovation;
    • the development of trans-European networks;
    • the availability and interoperability of Europe-wide services; and
    • end-to-end connectivity.

Responsibility of EU countries

  • cooperate with each other and with the European Commission in the strategic planning and coordination of radio spectrum policy, avoiding harmful interference, through the Radio Spectrum Policy Group;
  • ensure that tasks set out in the directive are undertaken by a competent authority;
  • guarantee that national regulatory authorities and other competent authorities are independent of telecoms equipment manufacturers and service providers;
  • ensure that the national regulatory authorities
    • are protected against external intervention or political pressure which mightjeopardise their independent assessment and
    • have budget autonomy and adequate financial and human resources to carry out the tasks assigned to them.

New objectives and tasks

In addition to replacing and repealing existing legislation, the directive introduces a series of new objectives and tasks:

  • Strengthened consumer rules aim to make it easier to switch between service providers and offer better protection, for example, for people who subscribe to bundled services. Consumers will benefit from a similar, higher level of protection across the EU.
  • Telecoms services now include services provided over the internet which do not use calling numbers, such as messaging apps and email. A review mechanism aims to ensure that consumerrights remain robust and up-to-date as business models and consumer behaviour change.
  • Affordable and adequate broadband internet access must be available to all consumers, irrespective of their location or income.
  • People with disabilities should have equivalent access to telecoms services.
  • EU countries will set up a public warning system to send alerts to citizens on their mobile phones in the event of a natural disaster or other major emergency in their area.
  • EU countries must provide operators with predictable regulationfor radio spectrum licensing for wireless broadband for at least 20 years to promote investment, in particular in 5G connectivity; increased convergence of national selection procedures through a Peer Review Forum.
  • New frequency bands for 5G connectivity for faster internet connections and better connectivity, as well as coordinated timing of spectrum licensing and a lighter regulatory regime for small mobile network equipment deployment.
  • Rules on operator access to networks to encourage competition make it easier for companies to invest in new, very high capacity infrastructure (download speeds of 100 Mbps or more), including in remote areas, while ensuring effective market regulation.
  • New tools will address issues that may arise in certain market circumstances. Symmetric regulation* will apply to electronic communications network providers in some very specific situations to ensure competition.

FROM WHEN DOES THIS DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It entered into force on 20 December 2018.

Directive (EU) 2018/1972 recasts and replaces Directives 2002/19/EC, 2002/20/EC and 2002/21/EC (and their subsequent amendments) which had to become law in the EU countries by 2003. The new rules contained in Directive (EU) 2018/1972 apply and have to become law in the EU countries by 21 December 2020

BACKGROUND

See also:

KEY TERMS

5G: the latest generation of cellular mobile communication, characterised by a high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity and greater device connectivity.
Symmetric regulation: the same regulation of all network providers (as opposed to asymmetric regulation which differentiates between providers, generally to provide a level playing field between providers of lesser and greater importance).

MAIN DOCUMENT

Directive (EU) 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 establishing the European Electronic Communications Code (Recast) (OJ L 321, 17.12.2018, pp. 36-214)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Regulation (EU) 2018/1971 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 establishing the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the Agency for Support for BEREC (BEREC Office), amending Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1211/2009 (OJ L 321, 17.12.2018, pp. 1-35)

Directive (EU) 2016/1148 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2016 concerning measures for a high common level of security of network and information systems across the Union (OJ L 194, 19.7.2016, pp. 1-30)

Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 laying down measures concerning open internet access and amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services and Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (OJ L 310, 26.11.2015, pp. 1-18)

Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Regulation (EU) 2015/758 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2015 concerning type-approval requirements for the deployment of the eCall in-vehicle system based on the 112 service and amending Directive 2007/46/EC (OJ L 123, 19.5.2015, pp. 77-89)

See consolidated version.

Directive 2014/61/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks (OJ L 155, 23.5.2014, pp. 1-14)

Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (OJ L 172, 30.6.2012, pp. 10-35)

See consolidated version.

Decision No 243/2012/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 establishing a multiannual radio spectrum policy programme (OJ L 81, 21.3.2012, pp. 7-17)

Decision No 676/2002/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the European Community (Radio Spectrum Decision) (OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, pp. 1-6)

Directive 2002/19/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on access to, and interconnection of, electronic communications networks and associated facilities (Access Directive) (OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, pp. 7-20)

See consolidated version.

Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services (Authorisation Directive) (OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, pp. 21-32)

See consolidated version.

Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Framework Directive) (OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, pp. 33-50)

See consolidated version.

Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications) (OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, pp. 37-47)

See consolidated version.

last update 05.06.2019

Top