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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 13 June 2012

Digital Agenda - Commission calls on Dutch regulator to look again at termination rate plans

The European Commission has decided to require the Dutch telecoms regulator (OPTA) to amend or withdraw a fixed and mobile termination rates proposal which would negatively affect consumers in the Netherlands. Termination rates are the rates which telecoms networks charge each other to deliver calls between their respective networks. These costs are ultimately included in call prices paid by consumers and businesses. This is the first time that the Commission has issued a recommendation under Article 7a of the Telecoms Directive (MEMO/11/321).

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "The proposed Dutch termination rates would be twice as high as under the approach foreseen under EU law, so I am now requiring OPTA to withdraw the proposal, or amend it. This is in the interests of both consumers and businesses, and consistent with OPTA's original proposal."

In 2010, OPTA initially proposed cost-oriented fixed and mobile termination rates which were in line with the Commission's 2009 Recommendation (see IP/09/710 and MEMO/09/222). Following an appeal brought by certain telecoms operators, these rates were overturned in August 2011 by the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal which prescribed a different methodology that includes costs not directly related to call termination. Following this ruling OPTA proposed new rates, and in doing so triggered the Commission's 2012 investigation (see IP/12/130).

The Commission's decision follows a three month investigation during which BEREC, the body of European Telecoms Regulators, expressed support for the Commission's position.

Background

EU telecoms rules require Member States to promote competition and the interests of consumers in the EU, as well as the development of the Single Market.

Article 7 of the Telecoms Framework Directive requires national telecoms regulators to notify the Commission, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and telecoms regulators in other EU countries, of the measures they plan to introduce to solve market problems. The EU telecoms rules enable the Commission to adopt further harmonisation measures in the form of recommendations or (binding) decisions if divergences in the regulatory approaches of national regulators, including remedies, persist across the EU in the longer term.

Useful Links

The Commission's letter sent to the Dutch regulator OPTA will be published at:

https://circabc.europa.eu/faces/jsp/extension/wai/navigation/container.jsp

Digital Agenda website

Neelie Kroes' website

Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter

Contacts :

Ryan Heath (+32 2 296 17 16), Twitter: @ECspokesRyan

Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)


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