Bulgarian telcos oppose per-second billing

24 Jan 2014

Bulgarian telcos have reportedly voiced their dissatisfaction with telecoms regulator Communications Regulation Commission’s (CRC’s) Decision No. 928, dated 19 December 2013, amending the general requirements for the provision of public electronic communications, local newspaper Capital reports. According to the article, spokesperson for MobilTel (M-Tel), the country’s largest cellco in terms of subscribers, has disclosed: ‘Compulsory unification of mobile operators’ offers, which is not based on market analysis, can only harm the competitive environment in the sector.’ Further, the telco pointed out that per-minute billing is a standard practice in the European Union (EU), and no other national regulator in the EU has adopted mandatory per-second billing regime. The country’s second-largest telco in terms of subscribers, GloBul, reportedly announced that it will appeal the new legislation, as ’it is contrary to European laws and standards.’ The company said: ‘Such measures may be introduced only after appropriate market analysis to demonstrate the need for such intervention by the regulator – something CRC has not done so far’, adding that retail prices in the telecoms market are determined by competition, not by the regulator. Meanwhile, Vivacom (formerly Bulgarian Telecommunications Company) said that it will comply with the new regulation, by stating: ‘Our policy is to provide the widest possible range of tariff plans tailored to the individual needs and demands of each customer. According to the decision of the CRC from mid-April we will introduce new tariff proposals to expand the offers portfolio for consumers.’

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in January 2014 CRC amended the general requirements for the provision of public electronic communications, to take effect in April 2014. According to a notice published in the Official Gazette, under the new regulations, network operators are required to offer at least two subscription tariffs, subject to per-second billing, after a minimum initial cycle of 30 seconds per call. The new billing regime will apply to all post-paid and pre-paid mobile and fixed telephony subscriptions. Further, the document states that each subscriber is entitled to terminate their individual contract without penalty within one month of the introduction of any contract amendments.

Bulgaria, A1 Bulgaria (Mobiltel), Telenor Bulgaria, Vivacom (BTC)