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Sunday, 19 August, 2001, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
'Oftel to order mobile price cuts'
Men on mobile phones
The cost of calls from one mobile to another may fall
Telecoms companies are expected to be asked to slash prices by up to one fifth on calls between mobile phones, according to a report in the Financial Mail on Sunday.

Oftel declined to comment on the press report, but said it has examined the "termination charges" made by the mobile phone firms.

"We are expecting to report in the next couple of weeks," a spokeswoman said.

The regulator imposed caps in 1998 on the prices charged by telecoms firms for calls between mobile phone networks.

These restrictions are due to run out next March, the Oftel spokeswoman said.

Sharp cuts

The Financial Mail on Sunday predicts a sharp cut in the price paid by consumers calling phones linked to rival networks.

"Oftel is likely to demand a one-off price cut of as much as 20 percent. Then it may impose a pricing formula that will further reduce charges over two or three years," the newspaper said.

The newspaper cited anonymous industry sources, but did not quote any of them directly.

Discounts

Making calls from one mobile phone to another can be a costly affair, though it is hard for consumers to know in advance exactly how expensive it will be.

This is because calls between mobiles connected to the same network are often fairly cheap.

However, if you call a phone on rival network, the cost could be at least 7 times greater.

In the past, consumers could to an extent guess which network they were calling when they dialled a number since each operator tended to hand out a series of numbers that were similar to each other and unique to that network.

This is no longer possible after the industry opened up for consumers who wanted to keep their number when taking their custom to a rival mobile phone firm.


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See also:

27 Jun 01 | Business
Oftel orders BT to cut prices
18 Jun 01 | Business
Oftel issues scam warning
30 May 01 | Business
Vodafone 'faces Oftel price cap'
19 Feb 01 | Sci/Tech
Oftel urged to act on broadband
18 Jan 01 | Business
Oftel calls industry summit
03 Jul 00 | Business
BT Cellnet warned by Oftel
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