Spain has to lower mobile termination rates
By Nathalie Vandystadt | Tuesday 06 March 2012
The European Commission has used its new powers in the telecoms sphere to oblige Spain to act more quickly to lower its mobile termination rates. The Spanish telecoms regulator CMT, which planned to postpone the rate cut until January 2014, was notified by a letter, sent on 5 March, that it had to act more quickly.
These wholesale rates are billed between operators to deliver voice calls and passed on to consumers in retail prices. In 2009, finding these rates too high, the Commission sent the national telecoms regulators a recommendation on calculating cost-oriented termination rates. The national regulators have until 31 December 2012 to comply. But the CMT wanted more time, arguing that “a significant reduction of prices by December 2012 would have too negative an impact on the mobile industry in Spain”. The Commission was not convinced by its arguments, especially since the industry has had time to adapt since 2009 and because Spanish consumers have been hit hard by the economic crisis.
CMT now has three months to work out a compromise with the Commission and the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), the EU agency based in Riga, Latvia.
Under EU legislation for this sector, which entered into force in May 2011, the Commission may challenge a proposed regulatory measure it considers incompatible with EU legislation and launch a three-month in-depth investigation in collaboration with the national regulator and BEREC. At the end of that period, the Commission may present a recommendation asking the national authority concerned to amend or withdraw the disputed measure.