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European Commission Blocks Latvian Regulator Plans on Mobile Termination Mandates

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The European Commission has suspended the plans of the Latvian telecoms regulator which it said could make it difficult for Latvian consumers to contact people who use a different mobile network.

The Latvian telecoms regulator (SPRK) want to excuse 13 telcos in Latvia from a regulatory obligation under EU telecoms rules to allow their competitors to terminate calls on their networks. Telecoms network operators normally have a monopoly position in the market for voice call termination on their respective networks, and are therefore normally required by national regulators to grant each other access to their networks to connect calls to ensure that customers of one network can call customers on another.

The Commission has serious concerns regarding the Latvian proposal not to use what is known as an "access obligation". The Commission is particularly worried that the lack of such an obligation -- which is standard in most other Member States -- would not allow for a swift resolution of access problems and could, thus, leave consumers unable to make calls to other networks. SPRK's proposal could also make it possible for mobile operators to refuse or delay access to their networks in an attempt to eliminate their direct competitors from the market.

Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, said: "The prospect of some consumers not being able to make the calls they wish is just not acceptable. For this reason, where we have a monopoly situation like in mobile termination markets, we need to guarantee access to the network for all operators and all consumers."

The Commission, in cooperation with BEREC (the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications), will discuss with SPRK the issues raised and possible amendments of the proposed measures in order to make them compliant with the EU law and to eliminate the barriers within a single European market which they appear to create. The in-depth review of the notified measures will last up to 3 months. At the end of the process the Commission may issue a recommendation asking the national regulator to amend or withdraw its planned remedy.

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Tags: sprk  european commission  Latvia