The European Commission is intending to initiate the formal procedure for the clearance of the ATLAS-PHOENIX telecommunications alliance between France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom. The first step in this procedure will be the publication of a notice in the Official Journal of the European Communities setting out the main factual elements of the notified transactions, including the amendments and commitments agreed upon by the parties. Interested third parties will be invited to submit any comments they may have within a specified period, normally speaking one month. The procedure will also involve consultation with the Advisory Committee of Member State Competition Authorities on the text of a draft decision by the Commission. This is expected to be formally adopted during the first half of 1996. A number of commitments have been made, to the Commission, by the French and German ministers in charge of telecommunications, and by France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom, regarding the notified ATLAS and PHOENIX telecommunications alliance. These amendments and undertakings are designed to meet the concerns expressed by the Commission and include the following main commitments: - The French and German governments have undertaken a firm political commitment to liberalize alternative telecommunications infrastructure for the provision of liberalized telecommunications services (excluding public voice telephony) by 1 July 1996, and to liberalize fully all telecommunications services, including public voice telephony, and infrastructure by 1 January 1998; - The public switched data networks in France and Germany, Transpac and Datex-P respectively, will remain separated from the ATLAS joint venture set up by France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom until 1 January 1998; - France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom agree to establish and maintain access to their domestic public switched data networks in France and Germany on a non-discriminatory, open and transparent basis to all service providers offering low-level (so-called X.25) data services and to ensure continued non-discriminatory access in the future. The parties' commitment also relates to any generally applied standardized interconnection protocol that may modify, replace or co-exist with, the current standard; - France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom agree not to engage in cross-subsidization. In order to prevent cross-subsidies, all entities formed pursuant to the ATLAS and PHOENIX ventures will be established as distinct entities, separate from the parent companies and subject to regular and customary auditing in order to ensure that dealings between these entities and France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom take place on an arm's length basis; - France Telecom agrees to sell the INFO AG company, an important competitor of Datex-P on the German data network services market.