UK regulator Oftel’s fight to cut the cost of calls from landlines onto mobile networks has been taken to the Competition Commission. Following its recent review of the mobile markets, Oftel concluded that mobile termination rates are substantially in excess of cost and there is little incentive on operators to reduce these charges.
A peak rate national call over BT’s network is currently 24 pence for three minutes, while the same call to a mobile network is 60 pence for three minutes, of which 39 pence is the termination charge.
Oftel has proposed charge caps on future termination rates of RPI – 12% over four years.
According to the regulator, The proposed caps on the mobile operators will protect consumers from paying too much for calling a mobile phone, allow operators to make a fair return and be an incentive to be more efficient.
Three of the mobile operators publicly objected to the proposed charge controls. Oftel will now refer the matter to the Competition Commission for a decision on whether regulatory action such as charge controls is in the public interest.