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 Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The latest meeting of Study Group 3 saw an agreement that may lead to lower international mobile telephony charges.

The move follows a successful initiative in the 1990’s to lower the – then – high cost of international fixed line telephone calls.

SG 3 research has found that in some cases mobile termination charges can be five to ten times more than fixed termination charge. Termination charges happen when calls are terminated in a network other than that from which they have originated.

And since as many as 75 per cent of all calls now involve the mobile network in some way SG 3 has decided to investigate how to lower these costs and make mobile telephony more affordable.

The Study Group will send a questionnaire to members and following analysis of the responses it will develop targets aimed at bringing down the cost of mobile call termination.

The same initiative for fixed-line telephony is thought to have significantly reduced costs to consumers. Although some lowering of call costs can be shown to have been due to competition and market conditions, call costs were also seen to drop in areas where there was no competition, indicating that the ITU initiative had worked.

In other news from SG 3’s last meeting it was announced that an alternative has been agreed to the 140 year old practice of allowing the calling party’s service provider to invoice the call terminator for call termination services. The practice has led to many disputes and there have been calls to review the situation.

SG 3’s meeting agreed to a new model that – it is felt – will be less problematic. Now the call terminator can bill directly for the minutes used by the service provider sending the calls.