Italy “punishes” the telco: yet another sting coming to the detriment (also) of consumers

Italy “punishes” the telco: yet another sting coming to the detriment (also) of consumers
Italy “punishes” the telco: yet another sting coming to the detriment (also) of consumers

Reduction from 24 to 12 months of the telco-customer constraint in telephony-Internet contracts; 5% tightening of penalties in disputes with consumers; increase in the cost of frequencies. These are the three measures put in black and white in the draft legislative decree implementing the new Electronic Communications Codee (HERE THE DOCUMENT) under review by Parliament this week.

The measures, in particular those on contracts and sanctions, have been outlined in a pro-consumer perspective and the provision on paper aims at greater safeguards and at releasing users from time clauses – the latter measure already adopted by some Tlc companies which in fact do not provide for restrictions for the termination of contracts. But good intentions could generate an uncalculated boomerang effect.

To begin with, the Italian provision provides for clauses not covered by the European directive. A nationwide tightening of which the ratio is not understood considering the protections for consumers already provided by the various authorities, first of all Agcom and Antitrust. Not to mention the bloodletting against operators from the “famous” 5G auction and stringent rules on electrosmog which weigh and not a little on the economic accounts of the telco given the high number of antennas (much higher than in other European and world countries) that must be put in place to respect the limits.

The new standard now increases the dose: iThe telco-consumer pact will be broken within 12 months, a limit that will in fact force a revision of the budget forecasts with a voce of risk concerning, in fact, the possibility of losing customers at maturity. Therefore the offers, often discounted when the combined subscription-device is at stake, will have to be recalculated on the basis of the 12 months. To the detriment of whom? Of the consumer ca va sans dire, which in all probability you will see increase the monthly installments since it will no longer be possible to spread the amount over the 24 months, or it will be cobstructed to deal with two operators at the same time in the case of migration after 12 months (you will have to pay the subscription to one and the remaining balance for the terminal to the other).

In addition, the provision provides for an increased penalty of 5% compared to the current situation in the case of violations considered “serious”. What then serious it is not clear which cases are being referred to since there are no details about it. Also in this case, therefore, operators will have to set aside resources (how many?) to avoid budget gaps. Then there is the cfrequency title with a lot of new cost table, increased not a little.

Set aside here, set aside there, telcos therefore risk having to revise their plans from here to the end of the year.o, di reckoning so as not to succumb. Yes, succumb: because the numbers speak for themselves, in Italy the operators are all in difficulty and the investments to be made quickly – at the urging of the Government – for upgrading existing networks and those for new generation fixed and mobile ultra-broadband networks already represent an abnormal expense item. The pro-consumer line could therefore turn into a drain on consumers, somewhere the telcos the lost revenues will have to recover them. And it is not to be excluded that there are also repercussions on the workforce: Will telcos be able to keep all staff given the new costs?

Because the government has not called the telcos to discuss the issues and identify the best solution capable of protecting consumers and the industry? True, there was a public consultation, but this was not followed by a detailed examination of the answers and issues at stake. Inexplicable.

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