A massive campaign, launched by mobile operator 3 and the telecoms giant BT, for trimming down the mobile call charges handed over a petition comprising more than 114,000 signatures to the communications watchdog Ofcom.
Dubbed as “Terminate the Rate”, the campaign aims at lowering down the mobile termination rates (MTRs), the amount charged by the network operators to handle the traffic of other networks.
The campaign, which was backed by 258 MPs as well as 60 organisations, such as Moneysupermarket.com and The Post Office, has called for bringing down the MTRs from the existing 5p to less than 1p.
High MTRs generate significant revenues for the bigger mobile phone network operators such as O2, Orange or Vodafone, and it is therefore not surprising tha tthe smaller ones are urging to slashing these charges.
This is because the reduction in MTRs would presumably give them (the small fish) more space to offer competitive prices to their customers.
The managing director of BT Retail, John Petter, asserted that any cut of less than a penny would imply persistent unfairness and hefty prices for the UK consumers and businesses.
“This petition is only the first stage in an ongoing campaign to show how MTRs stifle competition and increase the cost of calling mobiles — our goal remains for them to be set according to what they actually cost", Petter said in a statement.
The problem here is that cutting the MTR would certainly encourage the mobile phone networks to raise their costs elsewhere. The spectre of having to pay for receiving calls (or at least getting those deducted from your monthly allowance) has been raised in the past and could become reality soon.