Spain’s Comision del Mercado de las Telecomunicacinoes (CMT) has rejected a call by the European Commission (EC) suggesting that mobile termination rates (MTRs) should be reduced at a faster rate. According to Reuters, the EC earlier this week gave the regulator a three-month deadline within which it was to provide detailed plans for how it would reduce MTRs at a quicker rate than presently planned. In response, however, the CMT has claimed that any attempts to speed up drops in termination rates could damage the mobile sector, with the regulator on its blog stating: ‘Carrying this out in one step, or in a very reduced timeframe, could have a destabilising impact on the mobile market and could significantly reduce the income of operators at a time when the sector is carrying out significant investment.’
EC vice-president Neelie Kroes has, however, claimed that Spanish consumers should not ‘pay over the odds for mobile calls’, arguing of the CMT’s recently revised glide path for MTR reductions: ‘Industry has already had three years to adapt and a further delay of one year is unjustifiable.’ In line with this stance, the EC is understood to be pressing for deeper cuts by the end of December 2012.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, last month the CMT unveiled its revised timetable for the reduction of MTRs between 2012 and 2014. Having initially set out plans under which the rate would fall to EUR0.0109 (USD0.0144) by end-2014 for all four of the country’s mobile network operators, as per the regulator’s revised plans, that rate is now expected to be introduced from 1 January 2014. As per the glidepath, Spain’s three larger cellcos – Movistar, Orange Espana and Vodafone Spain – will see termination rates fall to EUR0.0342 from 16 April 2012, before reducing further, to EUR0.0284 and EUR0.0225 in October 2012 and May 2013 respectively, and to EUR0.0167 on 16 October 2013, with the final drop, to EUR0.0109, then taking place on 1 January 2014. For fourth-placed Yoigo, meanwhile, a reduction from its current EUR0.0498 rate to EUR0.0402 will take place on 16 April 2012, prior to reductions to EUR0.0316 and EUR0.0241 in October 2012 and May 2013 respectively. Rate symmetry will then be achieved on 16 October 2013, at which date Yoigo will adopt a MTR of EUR0.0167, in line with its rivals, with it also falling in line with the final reduction to EUR0.0109 from the start of 2014.