UK comms regulator Ofcom today published plans to make calls to mobile devices from standard landline phones cheaper.
The regulator hopes that by forcing carriers to cut their mobile termination rates (MTRs) – the fees operators charge to connect to other networks – it will save UK consumers and businesses almost £800m a year from 2015.
The three largest mobile operators – O2, Orange/T-Mobile and Vodafone – currently charge 4.3p per minute, while for the smallest operator 3 UK, charges 4.6p.
Under Ofcom’s plan, the MTR will drop to 2.5p by 2012 for all mobile operators. By 2013 they will be 1.5p, by 2014 0.9p and finally in 2015 they will be just 0.5p.
Gartner principal research analyst for consumer services Jessica Ekholm said that the large mobile operators will oppose this over the next few weeks since they get extra revenue from higher MTRs.
However, the smaller operators often have to shoulder excess costs for connecting to other networks: “I spoke to 3 UK recently and since they’re a net-outpayer, they’d like MTRs to drop as soon as possible,” she said.
“Whether this leads to lower phone bills for consumers will be interesting to see,” added Ekholm.
She also said that mobile operators will be looking to cut costs to offset any shortfall in voice revenues: “operators could consider network sharing to this end,” added Ekholm.
“We’ve forecast UK voice CAGR [compound annual growth rate] revenues to decline by about one per cent between 2010 and 2014. That’s before the Ofcom proposals are implemented – so we could be looking at a two per cent decline,” said Ekholm.
Courtesy of computing.co.uk