Communication services are an important tool in both the business world and the private world.
Telecommunication companies are rapidly developing new services (VoIP, VoWiFi …) that complement classic PBX systems. The development of new services is also possible due to the general implementation of the new 5G network. Progress is inevitable, but it brings with it many challenges and fears. Who regulates this progress and telecom service providers? For answers, we turned to Tania Muho, Director of Networks and Communications Services Agency (AKOS).
You cover several different areas. What are your main tasks in the field of telephony?
The Agency is an independent regulatory body from several sectors: electronic communications, postal services, rail services, electronic media and radio spectrum management. Thus, the areas of telephony touch on both the electronic communications sector and the radio-frequency spectrum management sector. In the field of telephony, the Agency follows technological developments and takes into account in its work, on the one hand, the characteristics of telephony that occur through various media, and on the other hand, the market situation and its impact on end users. Thus, in recent years, telephony has moved from analog (PSTN) to digital (ISDN and now IP), and the special branch is mobile telephony.
In order for telephony services to be provided by end-user operators, it is also necessary to obtain the appropriate radio frequencies in advance. The agency has an important role in this segment, as it allocates to operators individual frequency zones intended for use in fixed and mobile telephony. In this way, it contributes to the technological development and the introduction of new mobile services. At the same time, the agency must determine the fixed and mobile termination rates to be borne by the former operator by the operator in whose network the invited end users are located. The agency plays an important role in regulating international roaming. This gives EU citizens cheap voice services across the EU.
The 5G network is increasingly available to Slovenian users. What has changed with its introduction?
We expect new user services to emerge from 5G networks and that they will provide new revenue for operators. The development of new devices is also expected, which will accelerate the development of the electronics industry and new applications and content. For end users, there is currently a significant increase in transmission speeds and therefore faster access to content and efficient use of services that require better quality and real-time transmission, with minimal delays and large amounts of data available to users for monthly transmission (more than 100 GB).
What role does AKOS play in ensuring security? Has 5G changed the face of security?
According to the current legislation, the authority is responsible for supervising the security of electronic communication services and networks and the safety of the operation of these networks. In the field of security, the Agency cooperates with all other competent bodies in Slovenia and in the European Union within the scope of its competence and expertise. In doing so, the agency only supervises the implementation of national legislation within its competence in this area, and does not formulate policies in this area itself.
Digital transformation offers tremendous opportunities and solutions to many challenges. With the introduction of 5G technology in all segments of society, the number of applications that are most vulnerable in terms of various violations is also increasing significantly. Research shows that the greatest danger to this is still on the part of the users themselves. Therefore, their awareness of the importance and manner of intelligent and discreet use of digital technologies, devices and applications is essential. In its work, the agency strives not only to be an oppressive body, but also to act preventively. So, in the middle of 2019, it created its own portal for media and information literacy – MiPi.
When should users contact Akos? How can you help them?
One of the agency’s primary tasks is to protect the rights of end users. As a regulator of the electronic communications market, the agency also has the power to resolve disputes between end users and operators. End Users may assert before the Agency all kinds of violations of their rights under the Electronic Communications Act (ZEKom-1), implementing regulations and subscription contracts. End Users must first file a complaint about the infringement of the Operator in the manner and within the deadlines for filing an objection specified by the Operator in the General Terms and Conditions of Service.
Users can call the agency’s call center (080 2735) with questions regarding the dispute resolution procedure. More information is available on the website www.akos-rs.si/. (Public relations)