ACM sees plan to slash mobile rates thwarted by Dutch court

29 Aug 2013

Dutch telecoms regulator Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has seen its plan to impose a sizeable reduction in mobile termination rates (MTRs) on domestic cellcos watered down by the court in The Hague. ACM had considered the previous MTR of EUR0.02400 (USD.0327) per minute as excessively high – a position shared by the European Commission (EC) – and had called for that figure to be slashed to EUR0.01019 from 1 September 2013. However, in the wake of an appeal brought before the trade and industry appeals tribunal by the three mobile incumbents, KPN Mobile, T-Mobile and Vodafone, the court has now watered down ACM’s proposals. The court found in favour of the mobile operators, but has ruled that MTRs be cut to EUR0.01861 per minute for mobile calls, while simultaneously imposing a new termination rate of EUR0.0302 per minute for calls made to fixed lines, from the previous rate of EUR0.03700. ACM is dismayed at the ruling, with a spokesman quoted by ZDNet as saying: ‘Since, historically, both reductions and increases of termination rates have been passed on to the consumer, it is the consumer who is truly affected by this decision. Although we are disappointed, we would like to stress that this ruling is provisional and by no means final.’

A final ruling is expected to be delivered in 2014, and in the meantime the new termination rates set by the court in The Hague will apply.