Brussels, 7 February 2013
Digital Agenda – European Commission questions Italian telecoms proposal to regulate rates for fixed termination services
The European Commission has called a halt to the plans of the Italian telecoms regulator (AGCOM) regarding termination rates which would negatively affect consumers in Italy as well as operators in other Member States.
AGCOM has proposed prices ranging from €0.00206/minute to €0.00127/minute for fixed termination rates for the years 2013 and 2014. These are significantly higher than any other Member State where proper price setting methodologies are applied.
Termination rates are the rates telecoms networks charge each other to deliver calls between networks, and each operator has market power over access to customers on its own network. These costs are ultimately included in call prices paid by consumers and businesses.
The Commission has serious concerns that the new price regulation proposed by AGCOM does not comply with the principles and objectives of EU telecoms rules which require Member States to promote competition and the interests of consumers in the EU.
European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "AGCOM's proposal raises concerns about compliance with the regulator's duty to set tariffs reflecting efficient costs for providing termination services. The European Commission is determined to ensure that regulated termination rates are reduced to similar levels in all Member States without any unnecessary delay."
"Article 7" of the new Telecoms Framework Directive requires national telecoms regulators to notify the Commission, BEREC (the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) and telecoms regulators in other EU countries, of measures that they plan to introduce to address the lack of effective competition in the markets in question.
Under the new powers of Article 7a of the Framework Directive, the Commission, in close cooperation with BEREC will, over the next three months discuss with AGCOM how to amend its proposal in order to make it compliant with EU law. In the meantime, implementation of the proposal is suspended.
The new rules also 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.
The Commission's letter sent to the Italian regulator will be published at: