EC asks German regulator to lower mobile termination rates

The European Commission has asked Germany’s telecoms regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), to amend or withdraw its plans to make mobile termination rates (MTR) for operators in the country more than 80 per cent higher than most other EU member states.

The EC said that its request follows a three month investigation, and concluded that BNetzA had failed to provide compelling reasons as to why it should be granted “special treatment” and be allowed not to follow the method for calculating MTRs as set out in EU telecoms legislation.

“Creating a single market for telecoms and protecting consumers is top of the bill,” said EC vice president Neelie Kroes. “The vast majority of Member States are now setting mobile rates in a coordinated way that brings maximum benefit to consumers and to competition, so there should be no exception elsewhere.”

The EC added that Germany’s proposed rates do not comply with the principles and objectives of EU telecoms rules which require Member States to promote competition and the interests of consumers in the EU, as well as the development of the Single Market.

In addition to German consumers paying over the odds, the approach proposed by BNetzA would favour German mobile operators at the expense of foreign operators, thus creating barriers to the single market.

The EC also warned that should BNetzA fail to follow its recommendation, “the Commission will consider appropriate legal steps”.

“The legal situation is such that we now have one month’s time to examine the situation and make a final decision, and we will inform the Commission of our final decision,” said a BNetzA spokesperson.

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