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Competition Commission to rule on cellphone charges

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It could take up to a year before the Competition Commission (CC) decides whether the cost of mobile phone calls in the UK is too high.

Yesterday, telecoms regulator Oftel, formally asked the CC to investigate whether the charges mobile operators make for connecting calls to their networks are too high.

While the CC hopes to rule on the issue within the next six months it could take up to a year before the matter is resolved.

Last month Oftel announced its intention to involve the CC after the mobile phone operators rejected inflation-busting price controls of Retail Price Index (RPI) minus 12 per cent for the next four years.

Oftel believes that mobile termination rates are "substantially in excess of cost".

However, the operators (Vodafone, mmO2, Orange and One 2 One) are prepared for a fight claiming that the UK market is the "most competitive in Europe".

Orange called Oftel's price control proposals "anti-competitive and against the consumer interest". ®

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