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
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
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
"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
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
This information is provided by RNS
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ots Originaltextservice: Ofcom
Oftel Media Office