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UK carriers may have to cut termination charges

LONDON, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Vodafone VOD.L, T-Mobile [DTEGn.DE], Orange FTE.PA, O2 TEF.MC and H3G 0013.HK may have to cut the price they charge to connect incoming calls to their networks, Britain's Competition Commission said.

So-called mobile termination rates are an important revenue source for carriers and the level at which they may be set are hotly contested by European and national regulators.

The Commission, in a submission to Britain's Competition Appeals Tribunal, said matters raised in an appeal by telecoms company BT Group BT.L to regulator Ofcom were well founded.

“As a result the CC has determined that the charges for connecting to the O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone networks should be reduced to 4.0 pence per minute by 2010/11,” the Commission said in a statement.

Regulator Ofcom had decided that they should fall to 5.1 pence per minute by 2010/11, the Commission said.

“The CC has also determined that the charge for connecting to the H3G network should be reduced to 4.4 ppm by 2010/11. That is 1.5 ppm less than the price control under Ofcom’s decision.”

The Competition Appeals Tribunal said it had not yet come to a decision on the matter. The next case-management conference in the long-running appeal process is due on Feb. 2. (Additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan)

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