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French regulators cap SMS charges

Vla! Chpr txtin...not in the UK though

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Updated French communications regulator ARCEP has had its move to cap the cost of text messaging backed by the European Commission.

Under the plans Orange France, SFR, and Bouygues Telecom will see the wholesale amount they can charge each other for routing texts through their networks capped.

Orange and SFR will be capped at three cents, down from 4.3 cents, and smaller firm Bouygues will be able to charge no more than 3.5 cents per SMS.

Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said: "ARCEP has convincingly shown in its market analysis that there is a monopoly on the termination of short messages on mobile telephone networks within France.

"I now ask the French regulator to ensure that the lower wholesale prices for terminating these SMS messages will finally translate into lower prices for SMS for all customers. Together with national regulators, the commission will analyse whether there are similar competition problems in the wholesale market for SMS termination in other member states."

With EU support industry watchers expect other countries to follow France's lead. However, a spokesman for Ofcom told The Register the UK regulator do not have plans to review text messaging unless the Commission's framework changes so that they are obliged to.

The Commission has operated a hands-off approach to text message regulation, viewing it as an emerging market. An ongoing consultation will decide whether the the framework should include SMS in the voice wholesale market in October.

Luxembourger Reding's supportive statement comes soon after her pet plan to cap roaming charges, probably making her bête noire in the office of many a mobile industry top brass. Bof! ®

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