Commission questions roaming prices for T-Mobile and Vodafone in Germany

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As in July with the British O2 and Vodafone, the European Commission sent two requests for clarification to German T-Mobile and Vodafone regarding roaming practiced by operators in that country. This action is the first step in a regulatory process and is part of a broader investigation by the Commission into the conditions of competition in international interconnection charges that are directly reflected in the costs borne by mobile phone users when traveling in Europe.

The European Commission states in a statement that after an investigation it concluded that T-Mobile and Vodafone have high rates of international interconnection with other mobile network operators. These rates are considered anti-competitive, especially when compared to the prices applied to calls made by customers of operators on their networks.

The investigation carried out indicates that between 1997 and at least the end of 2003, T-Mobile took advantage of its dominant position in the German market to supply the interconnection to foreign customers in its network, which resulted in the practice of excessive prices. The same conclusion was reached in relation to German Vodafone in the period between 2000 and the end of 2003.

The Commission’s aim is for these tariffs to be reduced in such a way as not to negate the advantages of using mobile phones across Europe, an achievement that everyone already takes for granted but which took a long time to be operational.

In July, the commission had taken similar procedures in relation to the British O2 and Vodafone, whose rates were also considered excessive.

In a statement it is further explained that the focus on the markets of roaming Germany and the United Kingdom take place following a survey of the sector initiated in 2000. The European Commission at the time decided to concentrate its efforts on these two countries where there was the greatest price distortion in Europe.

However, the European Commission also states that it believes that this investigation has an effect on all European mobile operators and «sends a clear message to all operators whose roaming they may also be excessive «. In any case, the possibility of investigating other markets if considered necessary is not ruled out.

Related News:

2004-07-06 – European Commission disputes tariffs for roaming in the UK2004-04-19 – Brussels accuses Vodafone and mmO2 of violating competition laws with roaming

2003-04-23 – EC postpones decision on possible illegality of the roaming

2001-07-12 – European Commission investigates prices of roaming in the UK and Germany