EC says mobile ops can charge for receiving calls

The European Commission would not stop telecoms firms from charging customers for calls received on their mobile phones in their own country, but warned that users could oppose the move, an AFP report said,

'This is for companies to decide. If companies think that this makes their offer particularly attractive, then we will not forbid it,' telecoms spokesman Martin Selmayr, was quoted by the AFP report as saying.

'But we will also not force companies to move to that,' he said, adding that the Commission would not be imposing any so-called 'bill and keep' business model on them.

Europeans pay to make mobile calls, but are generally only charged for receiving them when they are abroad.

Users elsewhere, in the US and some parts of Asia, notably China, pay for both even in their home country, the report said.

At the moment in the EU, telecoms companies bill each other a 'mobile termination charge' for calls made between any two networks which is then passed on to customers.

The Commission, the EU's competition watchdog, wants to cut the mobile termination charge across the 27 EU nations.

Selmayr said the idea is to cut these charges to a level that would incite mobile phone operators to 'move to a less bureaucratic system of bill-and-keep in the long run.