The new Spanish Telecommunications Act ("TA"), which transposes the EU Electronic Communications Code or ECC, is about to come into force.
This transposition comes with a significant delay since the transposition deadline of the ECC was 21 December 2020. For this reason, the European Commission opened an infringement procedure in February 2021 and even recently referred Spain (together with other Member States) to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
As the result of urgent parliamentary processing, the Plenary of the Congress of Deputies is expected to approve the final version of the TA on 9 June. The next step would be its publication in the Official State Gazette (it would go into effect the following day).
The TA transposes the classification of electronic communications services contained in the ECC. Albeit article 6.2 excludes number-independent interpersonal communications services from the obligation to communicate to the Register of Operators the commencement of the activity and to submit to the conditions foreseen for the exercise of the activity they intend to carry out, article 6.6 still stipulates that the operators will have to notify the commencement of the activity in advance “for purely statistical and census purposes” only, establishing a two month term.
Among other modifications, the TA reduces the scope of the “general operators fee”, since only operators with more than 1 million euros of gross revenue will be subject to this fee. According to the CNMC, this change will improve efficiency without appreciably reducing the amount collected.
It also contains several additions concerning user rights, such as the inclusion of freelance workers and small businesses as holders of certain user rights, or the inclusion of a maximum contract period of two years.
To implement these changes, the TA grants a term of 2 months for operators to adapt the contracts to be signed with their customers to the TA provisions, and 4 months to adapt the contracts that have already been signed.