The Post and Electronic Communications Agency of the Republic of Slovenia (APEK) plays a key role in the country’s economy by serving as the regulator for all communications and related services.
Miha Kriselj, Acting Director, explains, “APEK regulates the frequency spectrum, telecommunications markets, broadcasting content and postal services. In many countries these have been decentralised, but APEK covers all these areas.” One of APEK’s key tasks is to ensure competitiveness in Slovenia’s telecom sector concerning both mobile and fixed line services. A long-term goal is to help develop a knowledge based society in Slovenia, particularly through improving access to the Internet.
Ensuring EU standards in all Slovenia’s communications activities is a top priority for APEK. The agency is a member of a number of EU bodies, including the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG), Communications Committee (COCOM) and BEREC (formerly ERG), which works to harmonise the activities of European telecom regulators.
A current challenge for Slovenia’s telecom sector, according to Miha Kriselj, is that increasing competition has forced both incumbent providers and new entries to reduce their prices to the point that companies often lack sufficient funds for technology development and the launch of cutting-edge new services. Investments in the country’s optical fibre network have declined over the first half of this year, for example. To meet this challenge, APEK is currently working out pricing so that investments in separate fibre optic networks – which are currently underway by two operators – can be used more efficiently.
Another challenge for APEK and for other European regulators concerns access to fixed line fibre optic networks. Miha Kriselj says, “The European Parliament is already in discussions about a way to achieve this for Generation X and soon we should have a direction to follow, including how to regulate access.”
Implementing 3G technology
Concerning mobile communications, APEK is working on how to allow third generation (3G) technology on GSM frequencies and how to implement digital dividend. “There will be some frequencies released when we switch off television networks, and mobile networks are waiting for those to be free and available for them to utilise,” Miha Kriselj explains.
Miha Kriselj believes that Slovenia’s telecommunications sector has made impressive advances and has excellent growth potential. He says, “Slovenia not only has quite successful and good telecom operators but also a thriving telecom industry. We have already developed the necessary skills for Slovenia’s telecom players to expand to regional markets.”