Terminate The Rate is a campaign to persuade Ofcom to reduce the charge on Mobile Termination Rates. BT, 3, moneysupermarket.com, the Federation of Small Businesses, Carers UK, the GMB, (Britain’s General Trade Union) and the National Union of Students are working together to encourage a fairer price structure on mobile phones.
MTRs are charged when you call somebody on a different mobile network, or call a mobile from your landline. Their network will charge yours a fee for receiving (or ‘carrying’) the call. This is a Mobile Termination Rate.
So essentially, we’re all paying too much for our mobile calls, and there is something we can do about it. But of course there are arguments against this from mobile operators, some of which are outlined on the TtR blog:
If you reduce MTRs, we will have to charge consumers to receive calls
We at 3 promise, that we will not do this and we strongly believe that competition makes this an empty threat. Remember we are looking to see MTRs set at a lower level that reflects a fair cost.
If MTRs go down, prices will go up and fewer people wil have mobiles
This is an old favourite but has been proved wrong before. Previous reductions in MTRs in the UK have led to the exact opposite of these claims. In fact as a consumer you have already experienced the benefit of some reductions in MTRs when changes were made back in 2002. Prices came down, usage went up and more people used mobiles. Now we believe it’s time they came down some more.
Current MTRs protect low users from higher charges
High MTRs don’t protect low users, they create them. Lower MTRs would allow greater competition and lower charges to consumers. Many so called ‘low users’ avoid calling mobiles, for example from their landline, because of the high charges. Reducing MTRs will allow better deals that mean they don’t have to be afraid of the cost of calling mobiles.
Ofcom has set out 6 options: ranging from maintaining the current system to more “radical alternatives” such as where the customer’s own network is responsible for all costs of making and receiving phone calls.
Lower rates will promote competition and cut costs to the consumer, which is the most important thing, not lining the pockets of the mobile operators, and this is something that the mobile operators who are protecting their own MTR rates should be thinking about.
You can download the full report from Ofcom here.