ComReg announces final decision on MTR appeal

2 Jan 2013

Ireland’s national regulator the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) on 20 December 2012 published its final decision (Ref: ComReg 12/139) on weighted average wholesale mobile termination rates (MTR) in the country, following an appeal from domestic cellco Vodafone. On 21 November last year, ComReg published Decision D11/12 which designated six mobile service providers with significant market power (SMP) in the Republic, and imposed a number of obligations on each of them, including an obligation of cost orientation. At the same time the watchdog published Decision D12/12, noting, amongst other things, the SMP mobile providers in question as Hutchison 3G Ireland (H3GI), Lycamobile Ireland (Lycamobile), Meteor Mobile Communications (Meteor), Telefonica Ireland (O2), Tesco Mobile Ireland (TMI) and Vodafone Ireland (Vodafone).

However, on 18 December 2012 Vodafone Ireland appealed to the High Court against Decision D11/12 (insofar as that decision imposed a cost orientation obligation on operators) and also against ComReg Decision D12/12. In its response, ComReg says it will fully defend the appeal proceedings brought by Vodafone, which further specified the cost orientation obligation imposed under Decision D11/12. Specifically, Decision D12/12 directed each mobile operator with SMP to ensure that its weighted average wholesale MTR is no more than EUR0.0260 (USD0.034) per minute for the period from 1 January 2013 to 30 June 2013. The decision also imposed a maximum permitted wholesale MTR of EUR0.0104 per minute on each SMP mobile operator with effect from 1 July 2013. ComReg 12/139 also noted that, notwithstanding the appeal brought by Vodafone, decisions D11/12 and D12/12 remain in force in their entirety. It is understood that Vodafone Ireland is not seeking a stay on the implementation of ComReg’s decisions at this time. As such, with effect from 1 January 2013 each SMP mobile operator is obliged to ensure that its weighted average wholesale MTR is no more than EUR0.0260 per minute.