Mobile price cuts: the cavalry is on the way

Oftel to get a helping hand to bring down termination charges...

Oftel to get a helping hand to bring down termination charges...

The European Commission looks set to put its weight behind the UK telecoms regulator's battle to force mobile firms to reduce mobile pricing, according to a report this morning. At issue is the price mobile phone operators charge for calls to land lines and other mobile networks. The addition of a 'termination charge' in these types of phone calls can see per-minute charges increase ten-fold. The EC would typically leave such regulatory decisions to the likes of Oftel, but according to an official quoted in the Guardian, it may be willing to tackle the problem on a pan-European level in this instance. "Studies show that fixed-to-mobile termination rates in Europe can be 10 times higher than the average charge for a fixed-to-fixed connection," an EC official told the paper. "This results in undue barriers for newcomers to the market and high prices for consumers." The comments echo those made by the European Union's competition commissioner, Mario Monti, last month. He told reporters: "The commission has discovered some operators are blatantly overcharging. We will interfere with this matter soon in order to prevent the operators from abusing their customers by charging sky high prices from people travelling abroad."