FNA sticks to original FTR decision despite EC warning

2 Sep 2013

Germany’s telecoms regulator, the Federal Network Agency (FNA, also known as BNetzA), has given its final approval for the new fixed line interconnection rates charged by Telekom Deutschland, despite calls from the European Commission (EC) last month to modify or withdraw the proposal. The decision covers the basic origination and termination rates, as well as fees for optional and special services, including calls to value added services, transits between different networks and narrowband internet traffic. The interconnection rates had been approved by the FNA on a provisional basis at the end of November 2012, but a national consultation and the European Commission’s (EC’s) opinion were required before a final decision could be issued. At the start of August, the EC asked the FNA to modify or withdraw its provisional decision and to lower the rates further, on the grounds that the German watchdog had not applied the methodology recommended by the EC for calculating termination rates. Brussels noted that the charges proposed by Germany are three times higher than the average of countries which follow the recommended approach set out in European Union (EU) telecom rules. However, the FNA said it has adhered to its tested method of calculating the rates on the basis of the costs of an efficient operator, arguing that the EC’s recommended costing methodology ‘is not better suited in Germany to achieve the regulatory aims of the Telecommunications Act and to promote sustainable investment’. The new rates apply for a fixed period until 30 November 2014.