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EU confirms determination to tackle mobile issues

DUBLIN, Ireland-The European Commission has once again underlined its determination to tackle areas of mobile communications it feels are noncompetitive or overpriced. It has published draft guidelines designed to identify sectors of the telecommunications market where customers are either paying too much or are unaware of what they are being billed for.

The guidelines are issued primarily for the benefit of national regulators. There are two areas in particular that the European Commission has been following closely during recent years-the cost of call termination to mobile networks and the charges for international roaming.

Termination charges are of great concern to the commission, which is concerned that mobile-phone companies have not done enough to explain to their customers how the rates paid by other operators to make calls to their networks affect the cost of cross-network calls. There have also been repeated calls for greater transparency in roaming charges. The U.K. and Irish industry regulators recently issued a joint document detailing the costs of roaming for customers from those countries with suggestions on how to reduce such costs.

There will now be a consultation period before the guidelines are finalized, probably early in the fourth quarter of this year.


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