Designation of Market Players with Significant Market Powers
One of the Authority's key functions is to promote and maintain fair and efficient market conduct and effective competition in Brunei Darussalam's telecommunications sector. To rationalise the sector, the Authority issued regulatory Direction 2016-1: Direction on Designation of Market Players with Significant Market Power ("SMP") and their obligations which will lower entry barriers and give smaller or newer players the opportunity to attain a better competitive position in the sector.
The Direction distinguishes Market Players that are subject to competitive market forces from Market Players with SMP, whose conduct are not constrained adequately by competitive market forces. Market Players with SMP generally have the ability to behave independently and affect prices by raising the market price or restricting output. If a Market Player is designated as having SMP, additional regulatory requirements are imposed such as obligations to provide Infrastructure or Services to Customers, End Users or to other Market Players on reasonable, competitive, transparent, and non-discriminatory prices, terms and conditions and not limit the access of other Market Players in the relevant market. Market Players with SMP are also required to offer any Infrastructure or Service on a wholesale basis unless waived or exempted in writing by the Authority. Market Players with SMP will further be required to obtain the Authority's approval for the tariffs on which it offers certain infrastructure or services.
The Authority has now identified the following Market Players as having SMP in each of the relevant markets:
The current market definitions utilised and designations of SMP are by no means permanent and the Authority may review and revise the markets that it has identified for ex ante regulations at this time, as well as its classification of Market Players with SMP.
There are plans to introduce a Code of Practice For Competition In The Provision Of Telecommunication (and Broadcasting) Services and a Code of Practice to Regulate Tariffs in the Telecommunications (and Broadcasting) Sectors, however, pending the introduction of these Codes of Practice, the Authority has issued a Directive under the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam Order, 2001 and the Telecommunications Order, 2001 which provides transparency about the steps taken by the Authority to arrive at this designation of SMP. This Directive will terminate when these aforementioned Codes of Practice take effect, however, the designation of SMP will survive the termination of the Directive and will continue in effect and will be deemed to have been made by the Authority under the corresponding provisions of the aforementioned Codes of Practice. Licensees who have been designated as Market Players with Significant Market Power will thereafter take on and comply with all relevant duties and obligations imposed under the Code of Practice For Competition In The Provision Of Telecommunication and Broadcasting Services and the Code of Practice to Regulate Tariffs in the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Sectors.
Click here to download the Regulatory Directive.
Net Neutrality, refers to the basic principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must treat all data on the internet equally and is connecting you to all the content that you choose without discrimination or restriction i.e. network operators and internet service providers are not allowed to prioritise certain companies or types of data, charge for preferential access, or differentially charge by user, content, service or application on any data on the internet.
Net Neutrality is an issue pertinent in many countries because of its potential effect on the use of Internet and access to information by consumers and the claims that it deters innovation and dampens network investment and expansion. Net Neutrality has attracted global attention and debate because of concerns about the potential effect on the use of the internet and access to information.
AITI continues to serve its function as a telecommunications regulator while ensuring the ICT industry development by continuously monitoring global trends and developments in the sector, as well as any potential issues and challenges in the local landscape.
In 2018, AITI conducted an industry consultation on Net Neutrality which indicated no immediate concerns or issues in the country. In this regard, AITI have adopted three (3) guiding principles to Net Neutrality in Brunei Darussalam, i) No discrimination (by network operators and ISPs); ii)Transparency (of terms and services for customers to make informed decisions); and iii)Reasonable Traffic Management Practices (TMP) with these exceptions: national security, emergency services, law enforcement and content regulation.
AITI shall continue to monitor both local and global developments on this matter and welcomes any party that believes any practice or activity may be against the Net Neutrality principles in Brunei Darussalam to report it to AITI.