Oftel Notifies EC Of Proposals For Mobile Regulation

    London (ots) - In one of his final acts as Director General of Oftel, David Edmonds, today notified the European Commission of his proposals to promote competition and reduce the price of calling a mobile phone.

    The Director General has concluded this action is necessary because consumers pay too much for making calls to mobile phones. They have no choice but to pay the high connection charge set by the operator of the network they are calling.

    In May 2003 Oftel published its first consultation document reviewing the calls to mobile phones market as part of its work to implement the new EC Directives on electronic communications networks.

    Oftel's initial conclusions set out proposals for replacing existing regulation with new measures under the new EC Directives on electronic communications and invited comments on these proposals from interested parties.

    Following responses from UK mobile phone operators, fixed operators and consumer groups, the Director General has now set out key proposals for regulation of calls to mobile that include:

      - protection of consumers from excessive call termination charges
through a continuation of controls to reduce the amount mobile
operators charge to connect calls to their networks;  

    - promotion of competition between operators by ensuring equal access and no undue discrimination against other operators for terminating calls onto the mobile networks; and  

    - no regulation on the 3G market as these are new and innovative services and regulatory controls would be disproportionate while the market is developing.

    David Edmonds, Director General of Telecommunications said today:

    "Calls to mobile phones is a separate market from the mobile retail market. There is no effective competition. Consumers cannot choose between terminating networks when they make a call to a mobile phone."

    "Calling someone on their mobile phone is expensive. Consumers have no option but to pay the connection charge set by the operator of the network they call."

    "I believe that measures are needed to require the mobile operators to reduce their call termination charges, which should result in cheaper calls to mobile phones."  

    "My proposals for the charge control are in line with those I set out in May and the Competition Commission's original recommendation. In addition, I have set out proposals for non-price regulation, in order to promote competition."

    "We are not placing any regulation on the 3G market. These are new and innovative services and inappropriate regulation at this stage could damage the evolution of this new market."

    "This publication brings to a conclusion three years of work I have undertaken in this area. The proposals I have set out provide a solid basis on which the new regulator, Ofcom, can move forward."

    The Commission now has seven weeks to comment on Oftel's proposals. The final decision will be for Ofcom. UK industry and consumer groups also have a further opportunity to comment on Oftel's proposals during this period.

      Notes to Editors

      1. Review of the mobile wholesale voice call termination markets
available from Ofcom's website at www.ofcom.org.uk

      2. In January Oftel published the findings of the Competition
Commission's inquiry into call termination charges to mobile
networks. Oftel modified the mobile operators' licence in April to
require the first reduction by July. The CC inquiry was carried out
under the previous telecoms regulatory framework.  

    However, because of the introduction in July of the new regulatory framework contained in the EC Directives on electronic communications networks, Oftel is required to carry out a fresh review of the mobile termination market, under the terms and procedures set out in the new Directives.  

    3. The charge control proposals made by Oftel in the document published today are very similar in their effects on consumers and mobile operators, between now and the end of the control period, to the proposals made in May. The proposed phasing of the charges has been revised to reflect the date now expected for completing this review, which is 2-3 months later than previously planned.

    4. Ofcom will inherit the duties of the five existing regulators it will replace - the Broadcasting Standards Commission, the Independent Television Commission, Oftel, the Radio Authority and the Radiocommunications Agency. Ofcom is vested with full powers on 29th December 2003.

                This information is provided by RNS    
    The company news service from the London Stock Exchange

ots Originaltextservice: Ofcom
Internet: www.presseportal.ch

Oftel Media Office
Tel. +44/20/7981'3033

Weitere Meldungen: Ofcom

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