Vodafone, BTCellnet, Orange and One2One, and the telecom regulator Oftel have received an alert notice from the UK’s Competition Commission about the cost to call mobile phones. The Commission is identifying a number of issues and that will form the core of the Commission’s findings. The key question to be investigated is whether the mobile operators’ termination charges are too high and whether any regulations imposed would be in the public interest.
The regulator itself called for the investigative commission after it was unable to resolve its pricing concerns with the networks. A number of hearings will soon be held by the Commission to discuss the issues with Oftel and the operators.
The Commission will determine whether there is sufficient competition in the mobile interconnect market and whether price controls are necessary to reduce the termination charges set by the mobile networks. The Commission is also concerned that the networks may be shifting their own costs onto non-customers by using high termination charges to subsidize lower outgoing call charges.