PTS is a public authority reporting to the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications, and is managed by a board appointed by the Government. PTS has approximately 300 employees, with qualifications in, among other things, finance, law and engineering. Most employees work at the head office in Stockholm.
PTS works within four primary areas:
- a focus on consumer interests,
- sustainable competition,
- efficient utilisation of resources and
- secure communications.
The authority is an independent agency according to the Swedish public authority model. This means that the Government is not allowed in any case to govern how PTS should apply an act or decide in a particular matter relating to the exercise of official power. PTS is headed by a board appointed by the Government. The Director-General is the executive manager.
PTS’s ongoing activities are funded through charges imposed on operators and undertakings and people who hold licences subject to PTS’s supervision, for example licences for various kinds of radio use. PTS’s annual budget is just over 200 million kronor. In addition to this, there are contributions and appropriations for the procurement of services for robust communications and for people with disability. This amount is approximately 300 million kronor every year.
The authority’s tools
The overall principle for the regulation of electronic communications is that PTS should not intervene if the market functions properly. PTS has a number of tools available. Where the market for various reasons does not function, PTS may use the tool that will involve the minimum intervention to achieve the desired result.
PTS’s tools can be likened to the steps on a staircase. The lower steps on the staircase represent the measures involving the least intervention, such as for instance describing or providing information about a problem. If these measures are insufficient, PTS will use measures available higher up on the staircase involving more extensive intervention, for example supervision, decisions on obligations or the issue of secondary legislation.
Ex ante obligations
It has been decided within the EU that the market for electronic communications needs a special regulatory system to ensure efficient competition. The reason is that this market has certain characteristics that make it difficult for new stakeholders to enter and operate in the market. Among other things, access to an extensive network to be able to offer services to consumers is decisive. The stakeholders who own networks can, for example, exclude others from their networks or set such high prices for the use of the networks that other actors find it difficult to compete.
The Electronic Communications Act, which entered into force in 2003, is based on EU Directives. The Act provides PTS with powers to decide ex ante on frameworks and rules for the market in order to prevent competition problems.