Glossary of competition terms

This Glossary is based on definitions from DG COMP’s Glossary of terms used in EU competition policy (© European Union, 2002) and the OECD’s Glossary of industrial organisation economics and competition law (© OECD, 1993). Each term is enriched with references of national case laws from the e-Competitions Bulletin and Concurrences Review.

Universal service

In European law and policy, the concept of Universal Service Obligations refers to a set of general interest requirements ensuring that certain services are:

  • available throughout a certain territory (e.g. the territory of a Member State) for all consumers and users, independently of their geographical location (geographical component),
  • at a specified quality, often including inter alia regularity/continuity of service (technical component), and
  • at an affordable price, in the light of specific national conditions (economic component).

The Universal Service concept has been developed specifically for some of the network industries (e.g. telecommunications, postal services, electricity) and due to its nature it will usually, though not necessarily, refer to services which are provided on the basis of some kind of network.

© OECD

Glossary