Costs covered and scope
The single maximum EU-wide rate will reduce fragmentation and ensure a more competitive, cross-border environment, which will ultimately benefit European consumers through lower prices and more varied offers for fixed and mobile calls.
The mobile termination rate covers the traffic-related costs from the interconnection port in the core network belonging to the terminating operator (inclusive) until the IMT antenna at the radio access network site (included) to which the call recipient is connected. These costs include: -network CapEx: costs of purchasing the network elements and other costs required for having the equipment in place (e.g. subcontractors, installation, design), as well as the associated cost of capital; -network OpEx: costs of maintenance and operation of the network elements; -wholesale costs: specific costs needed to provide services that involve third-party operators (e.g. billing-related costs, contract management costs, regulation costs).
The fixed termination rate covers the traffic related costs related to the network from the interconnection port in the core equipment belonging to the terminating operator (inclusive) until the default demarcation point between traffic- and non-traffic-related costs, which is typically where the first point of traffic concentration occurs (e.g. DSLAM, MSAN, OLT). These costs include: -network CapEx: costs of purchasing the network elements and other costs required for having the equipment in place (e.g. subcontractors, installation, design), as well as the associated cost of capital; -network OpEx: costs of maintenance and operation of the network elements; -wholesale costs: specific costs needed to provide services that involve third-party operators (e.g. billing-related costs, contract management costs, regulation costs); -non-traffic related costs are already recovered by the access rental cost (for instance, in a wholesale scheme, this would be recovered by the ULL fee), which covers the connection up to the user premise.
Interconnection ports are part of the termination service thus their costs are covered by the termination rates. The main cost elements covered are building, modification and decommission of a port. It should be noted that some costs associated with interconnection ports are not necessarily covered. For example, colocation is necessary for hosting interconnection ports but its cost is not covered by the termination rates. In case of multiplexing, whether it is covered or not by the termination rates depends on its implementation. If multiplexing is located after the interconnection point, in the network of the terminating operator, its cost is covered by the termination rate, otherwise it is not.
Internal transit occurs when the terminating operator owns both a fixed and a mobile network and a call is handed over for instance to its fixed network but is terminated in its mobile network. In this case the terminating operator needs to transit the call from its fixed to its mobile network. In essence, such internal transit is no different than an external transit (see below). It is a different service than termination thus operators can charge for it on top of the termination rate. In practice, this situation occurs when the originating operator has no direct interconnection with the relevant fixed/mobile network of the terminating operator.
No, the termination rates do not cover transit, i.e. delivery of a call from the originating (or another transit) network to the terminating (or another transit) network.
Yes, the delivery of a call from the entry point of the network (interconnection point) to the called party in the same network (national transmission) is covered by the termination rate (see SWD, page 3-4).
Non-geographic numbers used for fixed nomadic services and to access emergency services are covered. In case of doubt, it is for the national regulator to assess and decide whether a number falls in any of the two categories.
Yes, if the call is terminated at a satellite phone with a mobile or fixed number from national numbering plan. If the satellite phone number is from a different numbering plan (neither mobile nor fixed) then the termination rates of the Delegated Regulation do not apply.
No, the termination rates do not apply to calls to numbers used for Value Added Services (premium rate or toll free services).
Calls from third countries
For now, the Delegated Regulation covers calls terminated in the EU. Therefore, calls from Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland are treated the same as calls from any other third country. When the Delegated Regulation is incorporated in the EEA Agreement, calls from Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland will be treated as calls from an EU Member State.
The Commission will assess any request to be included in the Annex individually. If it concludes that the termination rates of a requesting country ‘are regulated in accordance with principles equivalent to those set out in Article 75 of Directive (EU) 2018/1972 and Annex III thereto’, it will amend the Delegated Regulation. The amendment will follow the same procedural steps as the original adoption, i.e. consultation with the Informal Expert Group of National Experts, BEREC, and will be subject to the scrutiny of the co-legislators.
The Delegated Regulation does not require EU operators to monitor the termination rates of third-country operators. However, if EU operators are aware of the rates of third-country operators, they need to act accordingly under Article 1(4.).
In case a third-country operator offers different termination rates based on quality levels (service level agreement), the relevant rate is the one which has a comparable quality to the one offered by the EU operator in question.
During the glide path (2021-2023 for mobile termination) and transitional period (2021 for fixed termination), the termination rates differ across the Member States. For the purpose of determining whether the rate of a third-country operator is equal or below the Union-wide termination rate, the relevant rate is the one applies in the Member State and year in question. For example, the relevant mobile termination rate for operators in Ireland in 2022 is EUR 0.43 cent/min. For operators in Austria, the relevant fixed termination rate in 2021 is EUR 0.089 cent/minute.
It applies at operator level. This means each relation between an EU and third-country is assessed individually and separately for mobile and fixed termination services. For example, a third-country operator X charges in 2021 the below mobile termination rates to French operators: -€0.9 cent to operator F1 and -€0.6 cent to operator F2. F or 2021, the Delegated Regulation sets the maximum mobile termination rate in France at EUR 0.7 cent. Therefore: -F1 is free to charge any mobile termination rate to X, -F2 cannot charge more than 0.7 cent to X for mobile termination. Hereby, the below facts are irrelevant for the application Article 1(4a): -The fixed termination rates charged by X (third-country operator); -The mobile termination rates charged by other operators from the same third-country.
In some circumstances, it is possible that an EU operator receives an international call via transit carrier(s), and the termination rates cannot be easily determined (i.e., they are not published nor available). In this case, the relevant termination rate for the purpose of Article 1(4a) is the one applied by the transit operators.
Level of the applicable termination rates
As a general rule, Article 5(1) of the Delegated Regulation states that the ‘single maximum Union-wide fixed voice termination rate shall be EUR 0.07 cent per minute.’ For 12 countries listed in Article 5(2) this general rule does not apply until the end of 2021. Operators in Member States not listed in Article 5(2) may apply any fixed termination rates equal or below EUR 0.07 cent (from 1 July 2021).
Other implementation questions
Article 3 of the Delegated Regulation provides for a rule to convert the termination rates from euro to local currencies. It specifies the source (European Central Bank) and dates for the conversion. However, it does not specify additional rules, i.e. number of decimals and rounding method. Rounding to the same decimal places as in the Delegated Regulation would be a reasonable approach. This means 4 decimals in eurocent and 4 in the other currencies as in the Delegated Regulation. The most common methodology for rounding is the arithmetic one. This would be a reasonable approach to use.
The Delegated Regulation applies in the entire European Union. The nine outermost regions are part of the EU thus they are treated as any other region of a Member State. French overseas departments — Martinique, Mayotte, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Réunion French overseas community — Saint-Martin Portuguese autonomous regions — Madeira and the Azores Spanish autonomous community — the Canary Islands The 13 overseas countries and territories do not form part of the EU thus they are treated as third-countries for the purpose of setting termination rates.
The Roaming Regulation (EU) 531/2012 defines the maximum surcharge for incoming roaming calls in excess of the fair use policy (FUP) as the average of mobile termination rates in the Union. Each year, BEREC collects termination rates data based on which the Commission sets each year the maximum surcharge on incoming calls. The current Commission proposal for the new roaming regulation connects the Delegated Regulation with the maximum surcharge allowed for incoming roaming calls in excess of FUP. Specifically, the termination rates will be taken from the Delegated Regulation.
The Delegated Regulation is directly applicable and it supersedes national regulation of termination rates. Therefore, there is no general need to withdraw such national regulation. However, in some Member States, withdrawal may be required by national rules. (Withdrawal may also be done for clarity reasons).
Disclaimer: This FAQ is provided by the Commission services for information purposes only. It does not contain any authoritative interpretation of the Delegated Regulation and it does not constitute a decision or position of the Commission. It is without prejudice to any such decision or position of the Commission and to the powers of the Court of Justice of the EU to interpret the Delegated Regulation in accordance with the EU Treaties.
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