Ofcom to reject 'mobile price cuts'

No friend of the consumer

Ofcom looks unlikely to force mobile phone operators to cut their prices - for the time-being at least.

According to newspaper reports, the giant communications regulator is expected this week to begin consulting the industry once again about pricing and other mobile matters. Last year it ordered mobilephonecos to slash the cost of calls by around 30 per cent after a long running investigation with the then regulator Oftel.

At the time the cut in termination charges - which apply to mobile network operators' wholesale charges for connecting incoming calls to their networks - ended a regulatory saga that has dragged on for six years.

Speaking a year ago Ofcom chief exec Stephen Carter said that the decision "closes a lengthy process, where we have concluded that price controls are currently a necessary market mechanism".

According to The Independent, Ofcom looks set to recommend that those price cuts - which had to be introduced by March 2005 - remain in place until 2007.

The move is expected to cheer shareholders and anger consumers since some operators had feared that Ofcom might use this consultation to impose further price cuts instead.

No one from Ofocm was available for comment at the time of writing. ®

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