22 February 2009

EU - Brussels firm on change to mobile fees rules

European policymakers are to push through rules to cut mobile phone bills despite opposition from member states. Interconnection fees are the latest front in a protracted battle between mobile phone operators and Brussels. Twelve countries, including Germany, the UK and Spain, voted against plans by Viviane Reding, the European telecoms commissioner, to force operators to cut the amounts they charge each other for carrying calls across their networks. Fierce lobbying by mobile operators meant only five countries supported the Commission's proposal to force them to reduce those charges by over two-thirds, to between 1.5 and 3 cents a minute, by early 2012. Ten countries abstained. But a spokesman for Ms Reding said the plans had "wide support" in the EU and would be adopted by the Commission in early April.