Ofcom opens consultation on MTR dispute between H3G and other major cellcos

14 Jan 2010

The UK’s telecoms regulator Ofcom has published a consultation on a draft determination aimed at resolving disputes between the country’s smallest mobile network operator Hutchison 3G UK (H3G) and each of its four major rivals – O2 UK, Vodafone UK, Orange UK and T-Mobile UK. The disputes between H3G and the other cellcos relate to mobile termination rates (MTRs) for calls to ported numbers; in March 2008 H3G applied to the regulator to have it examine the four separate cases considered and resolved. With the matter understood to relate to the current methodology used for charging MTRs for ported numbers, Ofcom has already provisionally concluded however that a switch to alternative charging arrangements could be appropriate, although it has noted that the other operators acted reasonably in rejecting previous proposals from H3G regarding changes to the existing arrangements. The consultation closes on 12 February.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, despite having pressed in the past for approval to set its own MTRs, more recently H3G has suggested it wants the charges to be cut to zero by all operators. To that end, in May 2009 it announced a joint venture with fixed line incumbent BT aimed at pressing for a reduction in MTRs. The campaign, which is marketed under the ‘Terminate the Rate’ banner, claimed to have already won the backing of the National Union of Students, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and trade union GMB at launch.