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Who counts as a 'principal operator' for Market 1,2,3 classification?

grahamt
Rising Star
Posts: 552
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Registered: 05-04-2008

Who counts as a 'principal operator' for Market 1,2,3 classification?

Apologies if this has been asked before - I checked the first few pages in this forum, but not further back.
The classification of an exchange as a Market 1, Market 2 or Market 3 exchange depends partly on size but mostly on whether four or more 'principal operators' are active (via cable or LLU) in the exchange area. Who counts as a principal operator?
I'm mainly asking because there have been several mergers recently and I wondered if they would affect the classification of any exchanges. For instance, in the list of LLU operators on exchange description pages on the samknows site, there are separate boxes for AOL, C&W/Bulldog, Pipex, TalkTalk/CPW, Tiscali and Tiscali TV. As far as I know, these are all now owned by TalkTalk and are being consolidated under one brand name.
What would happen if your exchange had two or three of these operators plus, say, two others. Would a Market 3 exchange be reclassified at Market 1 following the mergers?
OK, it's likely that an exchange with two or three operators that are now in TalkTalk would also have at least three other operators - BT plus two of Virgin, Sky, Orange and Be/O2 - but in principle it's possible to have only two of them, and of course further mergers aren't ruled out. So could exchanges be reclassified? Has this ever happened?
Obviously it wouldn't be nice if Plusnet were to send out a message saying "Because of a recent merger your exchange has been reclassified, so we're raising the price of your connection."
Graham
4 REPLIES
Mand
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Who counts as a 'principal operator' for Market 1,2,3 classification?

Hi there,
Principal operators essentially means non-BT Wholesale (so any LLU, cable or such like operators).
Exchanges can in theory be reclassified, but it happens very rarely in my experience.
There have been a large amount of mergers/buyouts in the industry recently, and with Orange essentially 'un-bundling' their network (returning to selling BT Wholesale broadband) the potential for a lot of exchanges to be re-regulated could cause a lot of impact.
Ultimately it's down to Ofcom, but I'm not aware of anything at the moment to say this is going to happen.
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Who counts as a 'principal operator' for Market 1,2,3 classification?

on Orange is it that they have merged with T Molbile on the 1st March?
http://newsroom.orange.co.uk/2010/03/01/merger-of-t-mobile-uk-and-orange-uk-cleared-by-eu-commission...
Mand
Grafter
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Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Who counts as a 'principal operator' for Market 1,2,3 classification?

I was referring to this.
grahamt
Rising Star
Posts: 552
Thanks: 10
Registered: 05-04-2008

Re: Who counts as a 'principal operator' for Market 1,2,3 classification?

Thanks for those replies. So I guess it is a possibility. Ofcom would need to change the classification of an exchange, and then I guess the rest would follow automatically: BT would up their price to Plusnet and Plusnet would have to pass on the increase. Could be tricky to explain to existing customers.
Does anyone know how many other ISPs use pricing based on Ofcom's market classification?
Graham