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European Commission Suspends German Plans for Fixed Termination Rates

The European Commission has suspended a proposal by Germany’s telecoms regulator, BNetzA to set fixed termination rates for alternative operators.

The Commission said that the proposed termination rates are three times higher than the average of countries which follow the recommended approach set out in EU telecom rules.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes stated: “It is important for building up a real single market that both operators and consumers face termination rates in Germany that are in line with those in other EU Member States.”

Under BNetzA’s proposal, the fixed termination rates that German alternative operators would be allowed to charge range from €0.0036€/minute (peak) to €0.0025€/minute (off-peak). These figures correspond to the termination rates BNetzA proposed for Deutsche Telekom early this year. Deutsche Telekom’s termination rates were also suspended by the Commission in March since they did not reflect the price of the provision of an efficient termination service. BEREC (the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) fully supports the Commission’s line on this issue.

This is the second time this year that the Commission has disagreed with Germany on implementation of fixed termination rates under Article 7a of the Telecoms Directive. BNetzA, BEREC and the Commission are currently discussing the way forward with respect to fixed termination rates for Deutsche Telekom.

Following the “serious doubts” letter sent by the Commission today, BNetzA has three months to work with the Commission and BEREC on a solution to this case. In the meantime implementation of the proposal is suspended.

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