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Interconnection pricing APT Policy and Regulation Forum for the Pacific Honiara, Solomon Islands – 27 th April 2010 – 29 th April 2010 Ivan Fong – Telecom.

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Presentation on theme: "Interconnection pricing APT Policy and Regulation Forum for the Pacific Honiara, Solomon Islands – 27 th April 2010 – 29 th April 2010 Ivan Fong – Telecom."— Presentation transcript:

1 Interconnection pricing APT Policy and Regulation Forum for the Pacific Honiara, Solomon Islands – 27 th April 2010 – 29 th April 2010 Ivan Fong – Telecom Fiji Limited

2 Introduction The provision of widely-available, affordable, reliable and secure ICT services will require substantial private sector investment Many countries in the Pacific are relying on competition to stimulate investment Markets are being liberalized to allow entry of new fixed, mobile and broadband service providers

3 Interconnection The physical linking of telecommunications systems in order to allow the users of one system to communicate with users of the same or another system An incumbent monopolist has little incentive to allow direct competitors to call or be called by its customers Commercial agreement may be difficult Small changes in pricing have large $impact Usually there is a mandatory requirement that competing networks be interconnected Regulatory framework may be an incentive to dispute

4 Each Carrier Must Interconnect TFL Carrier 2 Carrier 1 Carrier 4Carrier 3

5 Rationale for regulation Where there is market failure, i.e. market is not effectively competitive, and the condition is likely to remain intervention may be used to: –level the playing field –ensure appropriate investment signals and –protect consumers Regulators undertake tests to determine if there is Significant Market Power in the market If there are findings of SMP, then regulator has to decide whether to regulate or not

6 Terminating Access Monopoly Once a consumer has chosen a telecom provider, calls from the customers of all other networks must be delivered to that network The network operator effectively has a monopoly over the business of terminating calls to that consumer. The network provider can safely raise the price of terminating access above cost without risking losing significant market share Each network providers terminating service represents an effectively monopolized economic market Customer Network of Customers Provider Network X Network Y Network Z X

7 Setting Interconnection Rates How should regulators set rates? The standard answer is through requiring that interconnection rates be cost- based Why? –Efficient cost based pricing attempts to mimic competition; –Pricing below costs is not sustainable; –Pricing above costs not sustainable; Regulators sometimes consider other factors: –Benchmarking – what type of benchmarking? –Impact on Competition –Impact on Demand –Social factors

8 Cost Modeling The preferred cost standard must be selected (historical v. forward-looking) Data must be gathered and analyzed, and assumptions tested The process can be expensive and is usually contentious and time consuming Nevertheless, forward-looking cost models designed to estimate total service long run incremental costs (TSLRIC) are considered world best practice for estimating regulated firm costs

9 Model Method 1: Historical Accounting Costs Costs based on accounting records Assignment of direct costs and allocation of common costs Fully Allocated Costs (FAC) when all direct and common costs are assigned and allocated Uses existing network capacity and configuration Replacement cost alternative

10 FAC Model Flow Chart Cost of Service X Cost of plant and equipment dedicated to Service X Salaries and wages of employees dedicated to Service X Allocation of non-attributable firm-wide Costs across all services = Advertising and marketing dedicated to Service X Allocation of costs common To Services X, Y and Z Direct Costs Indirect Costs

11 Historical Accounting Costs Pros and Cons Allows company to recover past investments –essential in a developing economy –cost of Capital key May also be used to compute the access deficit charge (ADC) Accounting records may misstate asset values Poor record keeping – makes work difficult Assignment decisions and allocation methods can have a dramatic effect on costs Can include operators inefficiencies No credit for fully depreciated assets

12 Method 2: LRIC Cost Models Design a new, efficient network to provide the current array of services –adopt best in use technology –optimize switching and transmission network Cost out the hypothetical network Identify interconnection and service costs Regulators in many jurisdictions use LRIC models

13 LRIC Cost Definitions Long Run Incremental Cost –From a given level of output, the additional cost of providing an increment of service –Typically does not include any overhead –Effect of spare capacity is to reduce LRIC Total Service Long Run Incremental Cost –The increment is the entire amount of a service from zero to current level –Will include efficient overhead –Ignores current network and focuses on network a start-up firm would build (green field)

14 Interconnection Costing Example: Access and Local Calling Networks Efficient firm common costs AccessCalling Incremental Cost of Access Switching and Transmission Common Cost Incremental Cost of Transmission IC Transmission RSSLocal Switching Direct Indirect

15 TSLRIC Model Pros and Cons Considered best international practice Provides economically efficient price signals Competitive Market Standard May be quite different than book costs Usually lowers interconnection rates (not always) Requires detailed studies of carrier costs – can be costly

16 Benchmarking Benchmarks look to rates that have been determined or set in other jurisdictions as a rough guide to the costs a full-blown economic model would generate Every country is different and finding a set of relevant benchmark countries can be difficult In general, the benchmark countries should not include those where rates may contain a monopoly element In so far as possible, the benchmark countries should be similar in terms of basic factors such as population, geography, market structure, market penetration, benchmarks based on regulated or unregulated prices, cost based benchmarks, non-cost based benchmarks etc. Benchmark analysis may be just as contentious as cost modeling – what is the right benchmark point to use?

17 Other Interconnection Pricing Alternatives Are Used Sender Keep All (Bill and Keep) – where traffic is relatively balanced Retail Minus Revenue Sharing

18 Access Deficit and Universal Service Issues Requiring interconnection at cost-based rates will affect the incumbents retail price structure –in general this is a good thing –one purpose of competition is to rationalize pricing structures to encourage economic efficiency Where the rate structure has been used to subsidize certain services to promote social goals such as universal service or low cost residential access, adjustments can be made but these arrangement should not persist

19 Access Deficit and Universal Service Issues Standard approach –separate subsidy mechanisms from interconnection pricing –require support for social programs from the widest possible base In low income countries it may not be possible to arrive at a rate structure that both allows affordable access and cost recovery – these are difficult problems for regulators The use of cross-subsidy should be avoided to the greatest extent possible when designing mechanisms to encourage the proliferation of ICT services

20 Conclusion There is a significant role for regulators in promoting competition, ensuring efficient provision of services and maximum investment opportunities Regulation always has unintended side-effects Excessive regulation will reduce investment Excessive deregulation will cause uncertainty and reduce investment

21 Thank you

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