On 14 January 2016 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave judgment in a case concerning the procedural obligations of national telecommunications regulatory authorities. The case concerned a request for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 of the EU Treaty from the German Federal Administrative Court whether Article 7(3) of the Framework Directive should be interpreted as meaning that a national regulatory authority which has required an operator with significant market power to provide mobile call termination services and has made the fees charged for this subject to authorisation in compliance with the procedure laid down in the directive is required to carry out the procedure again before each subsequent authorisation?
The underlying substance was a decision of the German Federal Network Agency approving termination fees of Vodafone and the carrying out of the consultation and consolidation procedures provided for in Articles 6 and 7 respectively of the Framework Directive.
EU law does not include detailed rules for the procedure in the case of price controls or the criteria to be applied in respect of fees. Article 13 of the Access Directive allows organisation of the regulation of fees to be governed by national law.
In its judgment, the Court held that “Article 7(3) of the Framework Directive must be interpreted as meaning that, when an national regulatory authority has required an operator which has been designated as having significant market power to provide mobile call termination services and has made the fees charged for this subject to authorisation following the procedure laid down in that provision, that national regulatory authority is required to carry out the procedure again before each authorisation of those fees to that operator, where that authorisation is likely to affect trade between the Member States within the meaning of that provision.”