Operators pressured to cut mobile-termination fees

European telecoms regulator Ecta is pushing for operators to charge less for connecting calls to each other's networks
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

The European telecoms regulator Ecta — the European Competitive Telecommunications Association — has urged European Commission information society and media commissioner Viviane Reding to force mobile operators to cut mobile-termination rates.

Ecta said mobile-termination rates are excessive and discriminatory, and have wasted more than €100bn (£79bn) of consumers' cash over the last decade.

Mobile-termination rates are the charges mobile operators make for connecting calls to each other's networks.

Currently the average EU mobile-termination rate is nine euro cents per minute, although there is significant variation between networks. The costs charged for termination are disproportionate to the costs incurred by operators, according to Ecta, which pointed out that Reding has previously said she wants to see termination rates cut to between one and two euro cents by 2012.

Ecta said the lucrative charges not only penalise consumers but also distort competition, as they allow big operators to offer large customer bases calls within their network that do not attract termination charges. This makes it difficult for smaller operators to enter the market and compete.

Innocenzo Genna, chairman of Ecta, said in a statement: "Customers have for years faced excessive prices because of the very high termination rates being charged when they make calls to mobile numbers. Our estimate is that over the last 10 years, across the 27 EU countries, this amounts to a total in excess of €100bn of consumers' money."

He added: "Ecta's position is that all termination rates should be based on cost and currently they, quite evidently, are not."

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