Digital Agenda: Commission insists Spain must not delay cheaper mobile rates

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The European Commission has suspended plans of the Spanish telecoms regulator (CMT) to postpone by a year the introduction of cheaper mobile termination rates (MTRs), the rates mobile networks charge other networks for delivering voice calls. These costs are ultimately included in call prices paid by consumers and businesses. CMT planned to delay cheaper rates until January 2014, one year later than the Commission’s recommended deadline. CMT’s proposed delay could result in one more year of unnecessarily high mobile consumer prices in Spain at a moment when Spanish consumers are already hard-hit by the economic crisis.

According to the timetable outlined in the Commission’s 2009 Termination Rates Recommendation (see IP/09/710 and MEMO/09/222), cost-oriented mobile termination rates should be applied across the EU by 31 December 2012. These MTRs should be set at a level equivalent to what it costs an efficient operator to terminate calls on his network. In many countries, including Spain, MTRs are currently much higher. CMT has proposed to extend the transitional period for implementation by an additional year in order to protect the interests of the mobile industry in Spain.

The Commission disagrees with CMT’s argument that a significant reduction of prices by December 2012 would have too negative an impact on the mobile industry in Spain. In the Commission’s view the Spanish regulator has not shown that an extension to this deadline would be justified, in particular as the industry had since 2009 to adapt to the new MTR approach. In the letter sent to CMT today, the Commission has explained that this proposal does not comply with the principles and objectives of EU telecoms rules which require Member States to promote competition and the interests of consumers in the EU, as well as the development of the Single Market. Here to read more.

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