Act now to end the high cost of calling mobiles

20 Aug 2009 View Comments
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David Harrington
Harrington: We want your help

The cost of calling mobile phones is an issue for most businesses. As consumers increasingly rely on mobile as their sole point of contact and as staff spend ever more time on mobile devices, the imbalance between the cost of calling fixed and mobile phones becomes ever more apparent.

The Communications Management Association (CMA), part of the BCS, is supporting a campaign that aims to correct this imbalance. The Terminate the Rate campaign (www.terminatetherate.org) is calling for a reduction in the charges levied by mobile operators for receiving calls that artificially inflates the cost of calling mobiles ­ known as mobile termination rates (MTRs).

Further reading

These charges are a legacy of the early days of mobile networks and are the root cause of expensive mobile calling costs.

The rate is about 5p per minute, which we ­ and the European Union ­ believe is 4p more than the cost of terminating a call on a mobile network.

What does this mean for UK plc? According to Ofcom, in 2007 there were 10.3 million business landlines in the UK, each making an average of 13.2 minutes of calls to mobiles each week. Even on an assumption of MTRs of 4.7p per minute (the lowest rate in the UK), this means UK businesses pay £332m a year in MTRs from landlines. This does not include the cost from cross-network mobile calling, which is likely to be at least as much again.

Ofcom has launched a consultation on MTR levels. The CMA and Terminate the Rate are letting Ofcom know the views of UK businesses.

Terminate the Rate brings together firms such as mobile operator 3 and BT with organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses to campaign for a reduction in MTRs.

We are encouraging all organisations to join us either by signing the petition on the web site, by writing to Ofcom or by becoming corporate partners of the campaign ­ you can email us at enquiries@terminateth erate.org.

David Harrington is regulatory affairs leader at the Communications Management Association

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