EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding has applauded the French telecoms regulator Arcep’s proposal to reduce the wholesale mobile termination rates (MTRs) charged by the country’s incumbent operators. Under the watchdog’s plans, domestic cellcos SFR and Orange France would be required to charge a termination rate of EUR0.03 per minute from 1 July 2010 and Bougyues Telecom’s rate would be lowered to EUR0.04 a minute at the same date. In a statement Ms Reding said: ‘I strongly welcome Arcep’s proposal, as I am convinced that truly cost oriented termination rates will be of great benefit to consumers. Not only will it make for more affordable calls to all networks alike, it will also, once all operators in France – mobile or fixed – compete on a level playing field, foster investment and innovation … At this stage, Arcep’s approach clearly represents best European practice. The French regulator is making very important efforts to bring mobile regulation in line with the forthcoming Commission Recommendation on the regulatory treatment of termination rates.’ Arcep’s MTR price control proposal also allows the three operators some leeway by granting them a transitional period in which to meet the target mobile termination rates, allowing them to adjust their end-user charges accordingly.
Arcep has set the target efficient cost-based mobile termination rate of between EUR0.01 and EUR0.02 per minute, to be eventually reached by all mobile operators.