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Following a two-step consultation procedure (initiated by its precedessor Oftel), which included a formal notification to the European Commission, and the receipt of a letter from the European Commission's eCommunications Consultation Task Force which expressed certain elements of criticism (see previous T-REGS news item), Ofcom has now concluded its market review on the market that it has chosen to define as: "Wholesale voice call termination on each Mobile Network Operator's network (or, where the Mobile Network Operator operates both 2G and 3G networks, across both networks)".


Ofcom has concluded that each of the six mobile network operators that are active in the UK has Significant Market Power in the market for the provision of wholesale voice call termination on its individual network.


Ofcom has imposed regulatory obligations ("remedies") on the six operators, which vary according to their respective positions on the market.



Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile and Orange are subject to the following obligations with regard to their 2G call termination:


1. provide network access (2G call termination) upon reasonable request.


2. to not unduly discriminate with regard to network access.


3. to supply Ofcom with copies of any new or amended access contracts.


4. give advance notification of price changes.


5. reduce mobile call termination charges in line with charge controls.


Inquam must give advance notification of its price changes.


"3", must also give advance notification of price changes and must supply Ofcom with details of call volumes (with regard to 2G call termination). Ofcom has confirmed that there will be no ex-ante regulation of 3G voice call termination services.


Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile are subjected to a charge control, which will be valid until 2006. Ofcom has changed the glide path associated with the charge control (the glide path started before this latest step). The glide path has become steeper, because, going forward, it consists of a single step, to be taken as of 1 September 2004, and will remain applicable until the end of 2006.


Ofcom's charge control tables are reproduced below.


Table 1: Target average charge for 2G fixed-to-mobile voice termination


 


P/min (nominal)                          900/1800MHz operators 


                                                       (Vodafone, O2)                     


 


 


1st period charge (1/10/04 - 31/03/05)         5.63


Final period charge (2005/06)*                    5.63


*subject to changes in time of day weights


 


P/min (nominal)                         1800MHz operators


                                                       (Orange, T-Mobile)


 


1st period charge (1/10/04 - 31/03/05)         6.31


Final period charge (2005/06)*                    6.31


*subject to changes in time of day weights


 


 


Table 2: Target average charge for 2G off-net mobile-to-mobile voice termination


 


 


P/min (nominal)                          900/1800MHz operators 


                                                       (Vodafone, O2)                     


 


1st period charge (1/10/04 - 31/03/05)         5.63 


Final period charge (2005/06)*                    5.63


*subject to changes in time of day weights


 


P/min (nominal)                         1800MHz operators


                                                       (Orange, T-Mobile)


 


1st period charge (1/10/04 - 31/03/05)         6.31


Final period charge (2005/06)*                    6.31


*subject to changes in time of day weights


 


T-REGS note: Whilst the charge controls are identical for fixed-to-mobile and for off-net mobile-to-mobile, the very fact that a distinction is made between these two types of calls is highly significant. For a discussion of this issue, and Ofcom's recent conclusions on the application of the principle of non-discrimination to mobile call termination in the UK, please contact Yves Blondeel.


The full text of the Ofcom Statement can be accessed by clicking here (link does not work in all browsers).