Mobile networks lose Oftel price cuts appeal

Hanging on the telephone

A UK court today rejected a legal challenge by mobile operators against a regulatory ruling that they must cut the cost of calling between mobile phone networks.

Justice Moses ruled that Oftel had acted within its powers in insisting that mobile operators should cut so-called termination charges by around half over the next three years. Oftel's ruling on termination charges this January followed a year-long investigation by the Competition Commissioner.

Vodafone, Orange and Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile (the three plaintiffs in the case) have been given leave to appeal the court's decision, which comes as no great surprise.

The decision does not mean cheaper mobile phone calls in general. The cost for users in calling subscribers on other networks will drop but this will be offset by rising in calling landlines and the cost and handsets. Recent price changes by operators illustrate this point. ®

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