Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Tariff information for telecommunications in a multi-operator environment

The liberalised telecommunications market will bring benefits to the consumer in terms of choice, quality and price of telecommunications services, however problems relating to transparency still exist, especially with regard to tariffs for voice telephony services. This is due to the fact that tariffs are no longer dictated by one network operator as phone calls may involve various operators both on fixed and mobile networks. The eventual price of a call may depend on various factors unknown to the user.

The European Commission, DG XIII, in the context of the 1999 review of the EU telecommunications regulations where the effects of liberalisation will be examined, has published an invitation to tender for a study which should provide a clear picture of the current situation regarding tariff transparency and formulate proposals to remedy the existing difficulties in this respect.

The study, which should be completed within seven months, should cover the following aspects in particular:

- The current situation regarding tariff transparency and tariff information in the EU Member States for both the fixed and mobile networks;
- Discussion of how much tariff information can be maintained in telephone numbers;
- The possible tension between cost-orientation requirements and regulatory demands to charge average tariffs;
- National regulatory requirements with regard to tariff information to the users of telecommunications services;
- The difficulties which exist for consumers of telecommunications services in obtaining tariff information on a per call basis and explain the reasons;
- The consumer-friendly options for obtaining tariff information, or how they can be made available to the users of voice telephony services;
- The possibilities for an on-line tariff information system in which the per minute rate of a call is transmitted via the network;
- The lessons to be learned from experience in countries outside the EU.
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