March 18, 2019
From 15 May 2019, under the Open Internet Access Regulation (2015/2120E/EU) any retail price (excluding VAT) charged to consumers for regulated intra-EU communications (fixed and mobile calls and SMS) shall not exceed EUR 0.19 per minute for calls and EUR 0.06 per SMS message.
BEREC has now published Guidelines, laying down criteria for National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) to take into account. These Guidelines include general provisions on the scope of the Regulation, alternative tariffs, charging intervals, etc), as well as specific rules where BEREC defines procedure and parameters to assess the sustainability of these provisions.
Scope of the Regulation
The Regulation covers only consumption based intra-EU communications services offered to consumers. It covers all EU Member States. For calls originating in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein the Regulation would be applicable as soon as it is incorporated in the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement.
The Regulation does not restrict operators to apply per second billing. However, as the price-caps are expressed per minute, it is considered that charging intervals cannot exceed 60 seconds.
Providers in addition to the regulated tariff may offer alternative tariffs covering non-EEA, i.e. third countries, including intra-EU communications where the prices of intra-EU communications may exceed the caps. Consumers should have the option to deliberately choose such tariffs.
Charges in currencies other than Euros
The price caps are in Euros. When converting the price caps to currencies other than Euros, operators should use the method set out in the Regulation.
If operators wish to derogate from the provisions of the Regulation, BEREC considers that the derogation assessment should be conducted in two steps: the NRA should start with the benchmarking analysis and then it should assess the impact on the domestic pricing model. These two steps should be sequential and cumulative. BEREC has defined the benchmark that will be adjusted annually, taking into account data collected from operators.
BEREC has developed a template for NRAs to use to collect data on intra-EU communications from fixed and mobile operators. BEREC will aggregate the data and publish a report on the findings of this exercise annually.
To read BEREC’s press release in full and to access the Guidelines, click here.