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AKEP proposes a reduction in wholesale mobile phone tariffs from March 1, 2024

AKEP proposes a reduction in wholesale mobile phone tariffs from March 1, 2024

The Electronic and Postal Communications Authority (AKEP) has released for public consultation the analysis of the mobile phone market for wholesale call termination markets in mobile phone networks.

This is the most important periodic document of the regulation of the mobile phone market, based on which operators with significant market power are defined and regulatory measures are established. The analysis proposes the announcement as Operators with Sensitive Power (OFNT) in the relevant wholesale market of national call termination for mobile operators One Albania and Vodafone Albania.

The market analysis is expected to bring about a further reduction of termination fees in mobile networks. Termination charges are the charges that operators pay each other for calls made to their respective networks. The determination of these fees is the main instrument of the regulation of electronic communications markets by the relevant authorities.

Based on the final document on the results of the model of costs of wholesale services of mobile networks, which was approved by AKEP in 2021. The document in question aims to set wholesale (termination) charges of calls that reflect the direct costs, measured for mobile communications operators in Albania. The cost-orientation of wholesale tariffs is considered the best way to enable fair and honest competition between operators in the retail market.

Until now, for the establishment of national call termination rates, AKEP has relied on the benchmark method of averaging the rates applied in the countries of BEREC (Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications). Although the document with the measured costs was approved as early as 2021, the cost reduction of the tariffs was not yet approved, pending the new market analysis to announce the OFNT once again.

According to the analysis of the costs prepared by the consultants contracted by AKEP for this purpose, the cost of terminating national calls was about 0.751 ALL per minute, while for incoming international calls 0.762 ALL per minute. Current termination rates in Albania are around ALL 1.11/minute for both types of calls. To bring the charges to cost, which is also the objective of AKEP, call termination charges should be reduced by about 32%.

Based on this document and the market analysis, AKEP proposes that the maximum fee for terminating national calls on mobile networks be reduced to 1.02 ALL/minute on March 1, 2024, to 0.89 ALL/minute on September 1, 2024 and finally to 0.75 ALL/minute. minute on March 1, 2025.

AKEP notes that, based on regulatory practices in EU countries, the orientation of tariffs to cost is recommended to be carried out through an escalating reduction. In regulatory practice, staggered reductions have been considered common in cost-oriented tariff setting, to give operators time to gradually adjust their business plans, avoiding immediate market disruptions, especially when the difference between tariffs existing and cost-oriented ones is high.

Regarding the termination of international calls, the market analysis document is limited to laying out the advantages and disadvantages that the regulation of this market would bring, but does not contain a proposal whether the market in question should be regulated or not. The decision will be taken after the public consultation by the Governing Council of AKEP. The international call termination market has been deregulated since 2011./E.Shehu/MONITOR



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