The French telecom regulator Arcep has unveiled new plans to cut wholesale mobile termination rates, reports Dow Jones. Under the proposals, the watchdog intends to cut the rates charged by the country’s two largest operators, France Telecom’s Orange and Vivendi subsidiary SFR, by 13% to EUR0.065 per minute from EUR0.075 per minute. Meanwhile, number three operator Bouygues Telecom faces a rate cut of 8%, to EUR0.085 per minute from EUR0.0924 per minute. The new rates are due to take effect on 1 January 2008, for a period of 18 months. This is a reduction from the three-year timeframe originally planned, and is designed to harmonise the country’s tariffs with EU regulatory norms.
Arcep’s decision has generated some surprise at FT which notes that the current domestic rate is already the lowest of the big European countries. Moreover, it cannot understand the logic of increasing the gap between the rates paid by Orange and SFR on one side, and Bouygues Telecom on the other.