Ofcom to bring down mobile roaming costs in the UK

Telecoms regulator Ofcom plans to bring down the cost for fixed-line and mobile users ringing other mobile network numbers in the UK.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom plans to bring down the cost for fixed-line and mobile users ringing other mobile network numbers in the UK.

Ofcom has proposed new controls on wholesale mobile voice call termination charges, which would come into effect when the current regulation expires in March 2007.

The European Commission is already taking action to bring down the cost for users roaming on different networks when abroad.

The wholesale mobile call termination rate is the fee that mobile network operators (MNOs) charge to connect calls that are made from another fixed or mobile network.

Current limits on termination charges range from 5.63 pence per minute (ppm) to 6.31ppm, depending on which mobile spectrum band is used.

Until now, restrictions have applied only to calls made to operators’ 2G networks, with 3G networks excluded from the rules.

Ofcom plans to reduce the termination limits and extend the regulation to 3G networks.

Ofcom proposes that the average termination charges of Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile and Orange should be reduced to about 5.3ppm across 2G and 3G networks by 2010/11, and that 3’s average termination charge should be reduced from its current level to about 6.0ppm by 2010/11.

Ofcom is consulting the industry on its proposals until November this year and will make a final decision in early 2007.

The regulator is also considering whether to introduce new controls for SMS texting termination charges.

 

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