Termination rates are the charges which one telecommunications operator charges to another for terminating calls on its network. Traditionally three models of charging these fees are known: calling party pays (CPP), bill and keep (BAK, peering), receiving party pays (RPP).
- 1 Explanation
- 2 Data Transfer Rates
- 3 Situation in specific markets
- 4 Mobile Termination Rates Monopoly
- 5 See also
- 6 References
For example, a customer of T-Mobile wishes to call a friend who has a Vodafone mobile. T-Mobile will charge the customer a fee per minute (the retail charge) for this call. Vodafone will charge T-Mobile a fee for terminating the call on its network. This termination rate therefore forms part of T-Mobile's cost of providing the call to its customer.
Termination rates may be commercially negotiated or may be regulated. A range of approaches can be used to regulate rates. International benchmarking or cost models such as a LRIC cost model are the most common approaches.
Historically there was and in some countries still is much debate about the best level for interconnection rates. Some argue that approaches based on models do not take into account real world risks and costs and suffer, among other things, from survivorship bias (they consider that risk can be assessed by looking only at the returns of surviving companies) and therefore underestimate the true level of risk. Another concern is based on Real Options. This considers the benefit that is extinguished from the moment that an investor chooses to invest and suggests that the loss of this right to invest should be taken into account when looking at the expected returns on investments made.
The fundamental principle of any telecommunications network is to allow calls originating from a subscriber A to reach a subscriber B, whether on the same network or on another network, commonly known as “any to any connectivity”. In more technical terms, traffic, originating from Subscriber A is terminated at a point of destination, Subscriber B, and in order to allow for traffic to be routed and terminated between different operators, “interconnection” must be established. Interconnection allows for calls placed by a subscriber in one network to reach a subscriber in another network. Such a call is “terminated” in the destination network.
Data Transfer Rates
An alternative to traditional termination rates is to consider data transfer rates in conjunction with voice over IP (VOIP), which is, like the internet, a peering model. As data transfer is paid on both ends for the same VOIP call, this special form of termination is expected to gain importance. Such a model obviates the need for any regulation at a national level, other than a provision preventing mobile operators from restricting VOIP calls. In Europe, the lowest mobile data rates are currently offered in Austria with a minimum price of €5/month, and ~€1 for 1 GB. Mobile data roaming rates remain a thousand times more expensive (€1/MB instead of €1/GB), while non-mobile data rates are many times less expensive.
Situation in specific markets
Morocco wants to cut the termination rates by up to 70% and end asymmetric rates by 2013. The Nigerian Communications Commission, responsible for the largest African mobile market with 61 million subscribers, continually lowers the termination rates.
Fixed line termination rates are below 1 ¢/min. In the U.S., the providers are free to negotiate termination rates as long they are symmetric.
Mobile and fixed line termination rates are 0.90 paisa per minute charged per second.
Europe and European Union
While termination rates between fixed line telecommunication operators frequently amount to less than USD 0.01, mobile termination charges can be significantly higher, especially for international calls. In Europe, the average termination charge for a call is about USD 0.11 (0.085 Euro), ranging from less than USD 0.03 in Austria and Cyprus to USD 0.17 in Bulgaria. This discrepancy in rates has been identified as a hindrance to competition among telecom providers in the European Union. Termination rates have also played a major role in recent regulation to cap the high cost of roaming in the European Union, where customers paid on average almost USD 1.50/minute (Euro 1.15) in roaming charges. Ultimately roaming charges were capped at twice termination rates.
Since 2009, the termination rates are symmetric, and decrease every six months by 0.5 cent/min. Starting from 4.5 cent/minute, they reached 2.01 cent/minute mid-2011.
Mobile termination rate in France was 1.5 €ct/min effective Jan 1, 2012, lowered to 1 €ct/min from July 1, 2012 and finally €0.8ct/min on Jan 1, 2013.
Excepted from these rules were the 4th mobile network operator "Free Mobile" and the new virtual operators (full-MVNO); for them, the rate was beginning of 2012: €2.4ct/min, lowered to €1.6ct/min from July 1, 2012 and €0.8ct/min in July 1, 2013 (final rate reached, the same as for all operators).
The Federal Network Agency has set mobile termination rates to amounts between 3.33 ct/min and 3.39 ct/min (depending on operator), effective at the beginning of 2010, but the rates are not yet symmetric. These rates are expiring as of 2012-11-30; The new rates from 2012-12-01 will be 1.85 ct/min and from 1 December 2013, 1.79 cent/min.
Mobile termination rate in Italy was 1,5 €c/m for all Mobile Operator except H3G (1,7 €c/m) effective July 1, 2012, lowered to 0,98 €c/m for all from July 1, 2013.  Termination Cost for SMS is not regulated yet.
Termination rates in Montenegro were changed last time in February 2011, and are symmetric in mobile telecommunication networks. Termination rates in all three mobile networks (M:tel, Telenor and T-Mobile) are as high as €8.5ct/min. Termination rate for SMS and MMS messages is given solely in T-Mobile offer, and is €2.2ct and €6.6ct per message, respectively. Termination rates in T-Com fixed telecommunication network are €2.25ct/min within the same network access point code, and €2.7ct/min nationally. Termination rates in m:tel fixed telecommunication network is €2.81ct/min.
Fixed line termination rate in Spain are currently from €0.56ct/min to €0.65ct/min depending on interconnect level, with a volume discount of maximum 20%.
- 4,07€ct/min and 3,42€ct/min respectively by April 16, 2012
- 3,36€ct/min and 3,16€ct/min by Oct 2012
- 2,86€ct/min and 2,76€ct/min by March 2013
- 1,09€ct/min for all operators by 1 July 2013
Mobile termination rates are capped to 0.0815 SEK/min (0.9 eurocent) as of July 3rd, 2014.
The fixed line termination rate in Sweden was 0.0253 SEK/min (€0.28ct/min) for the most commonly used termination type (enkelsegment) effective January 2012. Mobile termination rate in Sweden was 0.21 SEK/min (€2.35ct/min) effective July 1, 2011. . When it was suggested to lower it to 0.14 SEK (€1,25ct/min) by July 1, 2012.
The termination rates are approximately two or three times higher than in the neighbouring countries Germany and Austria. The rates are not yet symmetric, and since 1 January 2011 they are 8.75 rp/min into the Sunrise und Orange networks, and 7 rp/min into the Swisscom network.
Termination charges in the UK are regulated by Ofcom. Between April 2010 and March 2011, the cap for 2G and 3G networks was 4.180p per minute (the Three network was capped at 4.480p). Six further prices cuts over the following three years were mandated, with the cost scheduled to be limited to 0.67p per minute by April 2014. These cuts were in response to a campaign by the public, MPs and businesses (including BT and 3). Although fees from termination charges accounted for 14% of the revenue of mobile networks, it was argued that the cuts would allow them to become more competitive and offer cheaper packages to customers.
Termination rates in Australia are regulated by the ACCC. The Mobile Terminating Access Service (MTAS) is set at 4.8c per minute and will be reduced to 3.6c per minute by January 2014.
Mobile Termination Rates Monopoly
The CPP principle is the most commonly used termination charging approach among MNOs around the world, especially in the European markets. Within the CPP principle the caller has to pay mobile termination rates (MTRs) and there is no contribution from the callee. However, the callee defined the cost of the MTRs once selected the MNO to register with. This is the root of the MTRs monopoly problem. Since the early days of mobile communications MTRs considered to be a monopoly. However, this is a market-defined monopoly, since there is no physical limitation such as wires for reaching a mobile user. Thus, MTRs are regulated by national telecommunications regulatory bodies across the world.
- Receiving Party Pays compared to Calling Party Pays
- iPad-Tarife: Surfen ab fünf Euro
- Telecompaper, 2010-05-10
- Nigeria sets new voice, SMS termination rates, 2009-12-31
- Nigeria posts a subscriber base of more than 61Mn, outshines South Africa’s mobile market, 2009-03-13
- Termination rates: Questions and Answers, 2008
- Europa Press Release IP/09/710
- Mobilterminierungsentgelte ab 1. 7. 2009
- [http://www.arcep.fr/index.php?id=8571&L=1&tx_gsactualite_pi1[uid]=1367&tx_gsactualite_pi1[backID]=1&cHash=a4da12f635 ARCEP Press Release] , Paris, 23 March 2011
- Évolution des tarifs des terminaisons d'appels (termination rates) Arcep.fr France, on 26 July 2013
- heise online: Telekom prüft Klage gegen gesenkte Terminierungsentgelte vom 5 December 2010
-  Delibera AGCOM November 2011
- Referent interconnection offer of m:tel to Montenegro Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services
- Referent interconnection offer of Telenor to Montenegro Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services
- Referent interconnection offer of T-Mobile to Montenegro Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services
- Referent interconnection offer of T-Com to Montenegro Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services
- Reference interconnect offer 2010 , (Page 219) 2011
- Spanish official regulatory body CMT blog , April 2012
- Swedish official regulatory body notification (PTS) , January 2012
- Swedish official regulatory body notification (PTS) , June 2011
- Swedish official regulatory body notification (PTS) notification
- Entwicklung der Mobilfunkterminierungsgebühren Medienmitteilung vom 9 September 2010 (PDF)
- Ofcom Regulated Prices
- ITU Survey, Are CPP (Calling Party Pays) services available in your country and if so, since when?, 2000
- Telecompetition, Chapter 5, Call termination - Pockets of monopoly power, 2004-09-16