The European Commission has warned ten of its member countries that they are not taking sufficient action on ensuring effective competition. The EC has said that if the countries don't address the situation, it could take legal action, meaning that the countries could face EU fines.

It sent warning letters to ten countries, including Germany, which has the EU's largest telecoms market, expressing concern on issues such as number portability that are key to ensuring that new operators could enter the market. The other countries are Italy, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Finland.

In the case of Germany, the Commission is concerned that the national telecom regulator, die Regulierungsbehoerde fuer Telekommunikations und Post (Reg TP), does not have enough legal flexibility to take action when it believes that some operators are dominant in a particular market.

The Commission has already received an official response to its concerns from the German authorities but is unsatisfied. It is now giving Germany a second chance to address the problems it had highlighted before moving to the next stage, which would be sending the case to the European Court of Justice which could fine the country for ignoring the Commission.

For other countries such as Latvia and Malta, the EC has told them that their national regulators have not done enough to apply legislation designed to protect consumers from spam.

Latvia, Malta and Poland have been told by the Commission that they must do more to force telecoms operators to offer full number portability to reduce the disadvantages of switching to the cheapest service provider.

Poland has also been warned over its failure to ensure that the Europe-wide emergency services number "112" can be dialled free of charge from anywhere in the country.

All these countries have around two months to respond to the Commission's concerns. If the Commission is not happy with the answers given by the member states, it can then send another request for further clarification.

The Commission also said it was preparing a second package of measures against other member states who were failing to properly apply EU telecoms sector regulations, but would not disclose when the new package would be announced.