Vodafone Spain chief wants reform to stem Telefónica dominance

Spanish telco Vodafone has called for the country’s competition authority to reform content-sharing regulations, which force Telefónica to share 50 per cent of its premium content.

At present, the premium content deals struck between Telefónica and other pay-television operators and telcos must abide by strict criteria set by the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC). Buying parties must pay a minimum price for sports content, as well as a fixed cost per subscriber.

António Coimbra, chief executive at Vodafone Spain, wants significant changes made to the fixed cost-per-subscriber metric when the CNMC reviews the regulations in 2020. In a press conference yesterday, Coimbra said the current metric disproportionately affects Vodafone. The telco has 1.3 million pay-television subscribers but last season had just 300,000 subscribers to its football content.

He claims that Vodafone was forced to pay €960 per football subscriber per year, compared to the €420-€450 per football subscriber per year paid by telco Orange.

The CNMC is bound to review the content-sharing regulations next year. The regulations were created to protect competition in the Spanish market after Telefónica ’s acquisition of pay-television operator Canal Plus’s Spanish business in 2015.

“We have expectations that the situation will change and the rules will improve,” Coimbra said. “Maybe we are naive.”

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