ZAPP IS SHOCKED BY ANRC’S PROPOSAL OF BLOCKING THE COMPETITION ON TELECOM MARKET

Only few weeks after a courageous decision of lowering the interconnection tariffs, ANRC defies its status with the purpose of protecting the GSM duopoly.

The interconnection tariff is the amount paid by an operator to other operator in order to end a call in that network. Under these circumstances, the higher the interconnection tariff is, the higher is also the tariff paid by a subscriber for calling the other network subscribers.

Following ANRC's decision, Vodafone and Orange were designated significantly powerful operators in 2002, being obliged to apply cost-oriented interconnection tariffs. Though this obligation was imposed in 2002, a cost calculation has been finalized by ANRC only in 2006. During this whole period of time, Telemobil and its own subscribers lost, together with the other operators, big amounts of tens millions dollars and 'financed' indirectly the two GSM operators between 2003-2006.

Though the real cost of an interconnection tariff has been fixed for 5,03 eurocents by the consultants named by ANRC and paid by all operators, ANRC agreed with the gradual transition from the tariff of 10 dollar-cents to the one of 5,03 eurocents in a 3 years period of time, until 01.01.2009. Through the new project, ANRC proposes the postponing of this transition period with one more year, the reason being the GSM operators' losses.

The ANRC proposal is unacceptable for a regulatory authority, for the following reasons:

First of all, it's not normal that, after this decision has been taken with a delay of several years, ANRC to change its position only few weeks after it was officially adopted, especially when its object has a significant impact on the operators' business plans, and, as a consequence, on the end users. ANRC's decision is non professional and breaks all rules regarding the investments protection, by creating an unforeseeable regulatory frame for all players in the market. Zapp cannot understand how this type of measures with a huge impact can be changed immediately after they have been adopted.

Second of all, ANRC's main argument for postponing the implementation of a cost oriented tariff having as reason Vodafone's and Orange's losses in their connection with international operators is not just. Zapp considers that's unacceptable for ANRC to protect the interests of the two operators regarding the marginal losses resulted from the international traffic, ignoring the implications upon all other national operators and Romanian consumers.

The third reason, more important, is that ANRC has the obligation to regularize and promote the competition in the Romanian market without bringing forward any player. That's why we consider that the reasons and arguments based on examples from other countries cannot be considered a base for regularization in the Romanian market. In particular, ANRC sustains the idea that the interconnection tariffs are higher than the ones in most of the European countries (not all of them). These arguments are not just because the tariffs paid by the end users in other countries are higher and this makes the competition in those countries equal. The main reason for which we still have in Romania a very powerful duopoly, approximately 95% market share, is that the two GSM operators apply very low tariffs for their own subscribers and at the same time very high ones for the other operators and their subscribers.

For all these reasons, we consider that all these changes in ANRC's politics not only break the obligations of this institution of imposing cost oriented interconnection tariffs, but also supports the GSM duopoly in keeping their positions based on the efforts of the small operators and of the end users.

Zapp considered such a proposal unacceptable and still hopes that the consulting process initiated by ANRC will take into consideration the position of all operators, their arguments and the interest of the end users and that it won't be a formal process in which the decision has already been taken behind the closed doors.

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