Spanish competition regulator CNMC approved the deregulation of the MVNO market in the country, a decision which removes access obligations placed on operators in 2006.

Under current regulation, mobile operators are obliged to provide MVNOs with reasonable access to their mobile infrastructure, a move originally intended to increase competition in the country.

In a statement, the CNMC said the regulation had opened the way for Spain’s competitive mobile market, which now supports almost 30 virtual operators. It added wholesale charges for voice and data had steadily fallen, and in its view there was no evidence to suggest deregulation would lead to an increase in anti-competitive practices.

After the removal of the regulation, CNMC said it would retain the ability to “detect potential restriction of competition and intervene.” This includes if operators unreasonably remove access or sharply raise wholesale prices.

The authority first proposed the changes to the law in July 2016, before putting its draft to a public consultation. It said the bill was also sent to the European Commission and a number of authorities in Spain, with no amendments suggested by those bodies.

New rules take effect six months after their publication in the official state gazette.