EU Telecom Commissioner slams Spain watchdog-paper

MADRID, March 25 Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:34am GMT

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MADRID, March 25 (Reuters) - Spain has not properly applied single telecoms market rules and consumers have paid the price, EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding said in an interview published on Wednesday.

"I have always tried to make regulation serious. But unfortunately in Spain it has not worked or been applied as it should have been," Reding told newspaper El Economista.

The Spanish regulator recently allowed incumbent Telefonica (TEF.MC) to offer fast Internet services without having to sell wholesale access to rivals to let them replicate the same service for their customers.

Reding is due to give a news conference at 1030 GMT to present a report on the state of play in Europe's single telecom market.

"Spain's is an exception to the rule (elsewhere in the EU): everywhere consumer prices have gone down but in Spain they have risen," she said.

Reding has been a frequent critic of Spain's national watchdog. (Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary; Editing by David Holmes)