On 31 August 2011, the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) quashed the decision of the Independent Post and Telecommunications Authority (OPTA) regarding call termination on mobile and fixed networks. The case was brought by a number of telecom providers, including Vodafone.
Call termination is the service in which telecom providers ensure that a telephone call from the network of one provider (e.g. KPN) is transferred to the network of another provider (e.g. Vodafone) and is the most important cost component in fixed and mobile telephony. OPTA can, in principle, fix the rates that telecom providers charge for this as each telecom provider is deemed to enjoy a monopoly on its own telephone network.
Originally, OPTA had decided that the mobile termination rate would have to be reduced to 1.2 cents per minute, effective from 1 September 2012. However, the CBb has now ruled that the rate should not be 1.2 cents but 2.4 cents per minute. The CBb also ruled that the Pure BULRIC cost model used by OPTA – although recommended by the European Commission – was in conflict with the proportionality requirement of the Dutch Telecommunications Act.
With this ruling, the CBb has ended years of legal conflict (and resulting uncertainty) regarding mobile call termination rates. Moreover, the CBb has ruled that the European Commission’s so-called proportional rate rule for all EU countries does not bear scrutiny in the Netherlands at least.
The NautaDutilh team that advised Vodafone in this case consisted of Paul Waszink, Jolize Lautenbach and Harald Wiersema.