Wednesday, April 16, 2008

EU - transition to bill and keep?

EU Mulls End of Interconnection Fees

The European Union (EU) is considering a radical overhaul of the interconnection fees telcos can charge each other in a bid to reduce the regulatory burden. Reuters reports that the European Commission may opt to replace interconnection agreements with bill-and-keep initiatives. In addition, the Commission may push for the harmonisation of mobile and fixed interconnection rates, ending more than a decade of higher fixed-to-mobile interconnection rates. Quoting a senior official from the Commission, the report said the EU's information society commissioner, Viviane Reding, is set to open public consultation on the proposal in June, and the Commission could adopt the proposal as early as September 2008.

Significance: If adopted, the proposals could well become a tsunami in the telecoms industry. Mobile operators will be the biggest losers, and Global Insight expects them to fight vigorously to dilute the proposal. However, the bill-and-keep initiative will free national regulators from the burden of regulating interconnection rates and settling resulting disputes.

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