Draft Sixth Act amending the Telecommunications Act
The amendments to the Telecommunications Act serve to transpose the requirement to ensure the interoperability of car radio receiver devices arising from Article 113(1) in conjunction with Annex XI, point 3 of Directive (EU) 2018/1972. They also make use of the flexibility given to Member States under Article 113(2) of Directive (EU) 2018/1972, which also establishes interoperability requirements for other consumer radio receivers.
The amendment to the Act proposes an equipment requirement in the form of a receiver, which is at least capable of receiving and reproducing radio services. In relation to car radio receivers, the provision is based on the wording of Annex XI, point 3 of Directive (EU) 2018/1972, under which the receiver must be capable of receiving and reproducing at least radio services provided via digital terrestrial radio broadcasting. There is also a presumption of conformity for car radio receivers should these receivers comply with harmonised European standards, or parts thereof, the references of which have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
In relation to other radio receivers intended for consumers and primarily for the reception of radio broadcasting, the flexibility introduced in the Directive is also made use of, insofar as the receivers must be capable of receiving and reproducing at least radio services provided via digital terrestrial radio broadcasting. This equipment requirement is based on the equipment requirement for car radio receivers but broadens the choice of possible reception paths and extends these to the reception of internet radio, amongst other things. The equipment requirement applies only to radio receivers that can display programme names, thereby limiting it to high-end receivers and restricting the impact on the market for lower value radio receivers. Radio equipment kits and receivers that form part of the radio equipment of an amateur radio service are excluded as kits and radio equipment for amateur radio services are generally used by radio amateurs. Devices where the radio receiver is purely ancillary (such as smartphones for example) are also excluded. The provisions therefore remain within the existing framework of Article 113(2) of Directive (EU) 2018/1972.
In addition, the draft Act includes competencies of the Federal Network Agency as well as sanctioning provisions with regard to the new Article 5a of Regulation (EU) 2015/2120, as last amended by Regulation (EU) 2018/1971. In particular, Article 5a of the Regulation lays down maximum prices for calls and SMS messages from the Member State of the customer’s domestic provider to a fixed or mobile number in another Member State (intra-EU communications). This part of the Act is not subject to the notification requirement.