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Germany given deadline on mobile charges

Friday, June 20 17:37:28

The European Commission today gave Germany three months to abandon plans to hike fees mobile operators can charge each other to connect calls, saying they lead to rates more than 80pc higher than in other countries.

The EU executive issued a first warning to the German telecoms regulator over its plans to raise the so-called mobile termination rates in April, but the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) failed to address its concerns.

"The German regulator has calculated mobile termination rates ... in a way which differs from the Commission's recommended approach," the Commission said in a statement.

BNetzA has three months to convince the Commission that it will amend its tariffs. If it fails to do so, the Commission will follow up with a more formal warning, which could ultimately lead to court proceedings and fines.

Mobile termination rates across Europe average a few euro cents per minute, but operators are reluctant to see them eliminated or even lowered as their revenues decline under competition from increasingly popular internet voice and texting applications.

The Commission says Germany's plans would clash with the aim of fostering competition among operators and creating a telecoms single market.(Reuters)