The European Commission (EC) has said it has ‘serious doubts’ about a new proposal from Dutch telecoms regulator, the Independent Post Telecommunications Authority (OPTA), regarding fixed and mobile termination rates, which according to the commission could have a negative impact on consumers in the Netherlands. In 2010 OPTA proposed to apply cost-oriented fixed and mobile termination rates, in line with the EC’s 2009 Recommendation under the European Union (EU) telecoms legislation, but in August 2011 these rates were overturned by the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal following an appeal brought by certain operators. The tribunal prescribed a different methodology that includes costs not directly related to call termination. Under OPTA’s new proposal based on this methodology, fixed and mobile termination rights would be significantly higher than under the EU approach.
In a letter sent to the Dutch telecoms watchdog, the EC explains that the new rates in this proposal do not comply with the principles and objectives of EU telecoms rules, which require member states to promote competition and the interests of consumers. Under Article 7a of the Framework Directive, the EC – in close cooperation with the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) – will over the next three months discuss with OPTA how to amend its proposal in order to make it compliant with EU law; in the meantime, implementation of the proposal is suspended.