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UK operators won't charge for received calls

All the UK's major mobile operators say they are very unlikely to try charging customers for receiving calls as well as making them
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Following suggestions by Europe's telecommunications chief that she would not oppose mobile operators that wanted to charge their customers for receiving calls, all the UK's operators have denied wanting to do any such thing.

European commissioner Viviane Reding said in an interview with the Financial Times on Monday that it was "for operators to decide" whether they wanted to adjust their business models in this way. However, all the major UK operators have told ZDNet.co.uk that such a move was unlikely.

A spokesperson for Vodafone said on Tuesday that the "likelihood of any new radical pricing is pretty slim", and confirmed that the operator had "no plans to introduce such a pricing model at the moment".

Reding's comments were in response to a question that was related to the European Commission's proposals for slashing the "termination rates" that operators charge each other to interconnect calls. On Tuesday, however, the operator 3 said in a statement that "there is no reason for the EC recommendation to result in receiver pays".

An spokesperson said Orange "can confirm that it has no intention to introduce charges for [its] customers to receive calls domestically". T-Mobile's spokesperson said: "We don't plan to charge customers to receive calls in the UK."

O2's spokesperson told ZDNet.co.uk that "any move to such a system [receiving party pays, or RRP] would need to take place across the EU at once, in order not to distort the market", adding: "It is not clear that RPP actually conveys any overall benefit to consumers — in countries with RPP we tend to see much lower penetration than in the EU."

A spokesperson for Reding's office told ZDNet.co.uk that the very suggestion of RPP in Europe was a "lobbying statement" designed to make the Commission's recommendations for lower termination rates seem unattractive. "We believe that the threat by some to introduce 'receiving party pays' is an empty threat, as a company that would introduce this in Europe would kick themselves out of the market," the spokesperson said.

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