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Ofcom cuts mobile charges

Number porting consultation announced

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Ofcom has announced new pricing controls for mobile phone operators which cut the amount they can charge for carrying calls made from other networks.

From April 1 O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone will be limited to levying 5.1 pence per minute, while 3G-only network 3 will be allowed to charge 5.9 pence per minute. The rules are the result of a two-year review, and will run until 2011.

Ofcom said it expects between £400m and £500m in savings to be passed to retail customers in the next four years.

The controls will mean a drop in wholesale revenues of about 10 per cent for O2 and Vodafone. Orange and T-Mobile will take a 20 per cent hit, while 3, which faces regulation of its charges for the first time, will be curtailed by about 45 per cent.

Ofcom also announced a consultation into regulating how consumers are able to keep their number when they switch operator, due to close June 7. Ofcom said the consultation was motivated by concerns that incentives to port numbers are not sufficient. ®

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