UK call charge slashes unlikely here, ComReg

22 Jan 2003

The decision by UK telecommunications regulator, Oftel to impose dramatic price cuts on all mobile operators there – ordering them to slash their call charges by a hefty 15pc is unlikely to herald similar penalties on Irish operators according to the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg).

A spokesperson for ComReg told that currently Ireland has one of the lowest mobile termination rates in Europe, citing Vodafone UK’s peak charge at 20.96 cent, compared to 14.9 cent in Ireland – well below the European average of 18.94 cent.

In Ireland O2’s average stands at 14.5 cent while Meteor is at 17.8 cent.

O2 in the UK on the other hand has an average of 19.83 cent while T-Mobile in the UK stands at 24.9 cent.

The spokesperson added that last summer the mobile termination rate in Ireland had dropped from an average of 18.8 cent to an average of 14 ccent, adding that off-peak rates were less again.

She said that the Commission would, however, continue to keep a close on charges.

The figures come from the European Union’s 8th Implementation Report on how the states various telecommunications regulatory packages are working.

Despite this, Irish mobile tariffs remain one of the highest in Europe with revenue from ARPU (average revenue per user) close to the top of the table.

Following last week’s ruling Vodafone in the UK has announced it will seek a judicial review of the decision.

It described the proposals as “fundamentally flawed” and said they were likely to mean higher charges for mobile users.

O2 in the UK, said that the ruling would force it to postpone its planned price cuts and the launch of its next generation services.

However BT said it would observe the directive.

By Suzanne Byrne