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Moves to Cut Cellphone Rates

The authorities in Sweden, Norway and Finland are putting pressure on domestic mobile telephone operators to drastically cut the rates they charge each other for connecting to each others’ networks.

The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority has proposed that interconnection fees be cut by more than half to at most 4 cents per minute, and says it will force a stronger cut if operators cannot agree. Analysts say the two largest operators, TeliaSonera and Elisa, will profit from not having to pay so much to their smaller competitor DNA, which finances its lower rates to consumers through higher interconnection fees.

Here in Sweden, TeliaSonera has proposed a flat rate between operators, but the others have not been keen on the plan. The Swedish authorities are reviewing the proposal.

Norway’s telecoms authority wants the largest operator, Telenor, and its main rival, TeliaSonera’s NetCom, to cut their interconnection fees by 31 percent and 51 percent respectively by 2010.

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