ComReg orders Hutchison 3G to reduce wholesale rates

1 Dec 2008

Ireland’s telecoms regulator ComReg (Commission for Communications Regulation) has found that Hutchison 3G Ireland (H3GI) has its own separate marketplace for wholesale call-termination services, and has ordered it to reduce charges.

ComReg today published its review of the market for the termination of mobile calls on H3GI’s mobile network.

It found there is a separate market for wholesale call termination services provided by H3GI, and in this market H3GI is in a dominant position.

With 100pc market share, ComReg said there are high barriers to entry to this market, and there is insufficient balanced buyer power.

ComReg has imposed price control, price transparency and non-discrimination obligations on the 3G network operator.

“These obligations are being imposed on H3GI to address competition concerns in the mobile call-termination market,” ComReg chairman John Doherty said.

“Mobile termination charges are the wholesale rates that terminating operators, both fixed and mobile, pay to the originating operator for calls that are connected to subscribers on the originating operator’s network.

“They affect consumers indirectly because they are factored into the prices consumers pay at the retail level for fixed-to-mobile and mobile-to-mobile calls. Reductions in these charges, as applied by H3GI in line with the reductions by other mobile operators, will bring benefits to both fixed and mobile customers in terms of lower charges,” Doherty said.

3 Ireland last week was named the preferred tenderer for the government contract to complete the rollout of broadband in Ireland

3 has over 300,000 customers, including 105,000 mobile broadband users. The company has so far invested €530m in its network and employs 200 people.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years