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European Commission Expresses Serious Concerns About High Mobile Rates in Estonia

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The European Commission put a hold on a proposal by the Estonian Competition Authority (ECA) to impose some of the highest mobile termination rates (MTRs) in the European Union from mid 2012 until mid 2015.

MTRs are the rate mobile networks charge other networks for delivering voice calls. The Commission is concerned that ECA's proposed pricing methodology does not fully follow the method set out in EU telecoms rules and will lead to excessive MTRs and ongoing consumer harm. The 2009 Termination Rates Recommendation requires cost-efficient rates to be in place by 1 January 2013. For example, ECA proposes MTRs at 3.89 euro cents per minute in the first half of 2013, well above the cost-efficient rate of around 1 euro cent per minute.

In addition, from mid-2013 ECA plans to stop notifying the Commission of its subsequent MTRs, meaning these rates would be enforced in Estonia regardless of whether they are in line with EU law or not.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "We need a fair EU single telecoms market. We cannot allow a situation where certain operators are able to achieve an unfair advantage or overcharge consumers through excessive mobile termination rates. Consumers all over the Union should equally benefit from the lower rates agreed back in 2009."

The Estonian regulator now has three months to work with the Commission and the body of European telecoms regulators (BEREC) on a solution to this case.

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Tags: european commission  estonian competition authority  mobile termination rates  Estonia