Phone regulator seeks cut in termination costs

 

The Office of the Director of Telecommunications (ODTR) says it is working with Irish mobile operators to reduce termination charges amid allegations of profiteering.

Ms Brighid Smyth of the ODTR said: "The Office acknowledged the costs were on the high side".

She said: "The ODTR is currently in discussions with the industry in relation to the level of costs associated with mobile services including mobile termination rates."

"In this context we are looking at the various developments taking place across Europe," she added

Termination charges are the fees an operator charges rivals for connecting calls to its network. The EU Commission is said to be concerned that mobile phone companies are making too much profit by charging fixed-line operators high prices for connecting to the network.

The fees account for up to two-thirds of the retail price of a call to a mobile phone and are a major part of the revenues of mobile phone groups.

Vodafone, Eircell’s parent company, announced a reduction in its termination charges on Friday. Ms Smyth said: "The ODTR acknowledges that these reductions continue to keep Ireland at the lower end of the European Table in terms of both peak and average mobile termination rates."

She said: "We welcome the benefits these reductions will bring at the retail/consumer level and we note that this is in line with trends in other countries."

In Britain, the Competition Commission today announced it is to hold a six-month investigation into claims that operators are overcharging.

The commission has sent a letter outlining areas it intends to investigate to Vodafone, BT Cellnet, Orange and One2One.