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Reding would OK charges to receive mobile calls

Double bubble for squeaking operators

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EU commissioner Viviane Reding would let mobile operators charge subscribers to receive calls as part of her effort to overhaul the European telecoms sector.

Reding told the FT that she was prepared to countenance a shift to a US-style pricing regime as the cost of pushing down termination charges, which she says distort the telecoms market as a whole.

Reding has already forced operators to cut voice roaming charges, and now has text and data roaming charges in her sights as well.

But according to the FT, operators claim Reding’s relentless drive to push termination charges down could force them to hike mobile charges, with at least one predicting that operators would start charging customers to receive calls as well as make them.

This is the model in the US, where the thousands of minutes included in monthly packages seem less attractive when you consider you’ll be chewing through them just by accepting a call, as well as making calls.

Asked by the FT whether she would let this shift happen, Reding said: ”Why not?”

Reding told the paper that the market was continuing to develop, and there was no reason to stick with existing pricing models just for the sake of it.

“I think the business models are not for the European commissioner to decide. Business models are for the operators to decide,” she said.

Operators might welcome such sentiments, but Europeans who suddenly find their minute allowances effectively halved might decide the Irish attitude to the EU has something to recommend it. ®

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