ECONOMY

Fixed-to-mobile charges could be reduced

The National Telecommunications and Posts Commission (EETT) is reportedly in negotiations with Greece’s three mobile operators, CosmOTE, Vodafone and Telestet, for a reduction of call charges from fixed-line to mobile phones. According to sources, the operators seem to have accepted a framework of principles governing such charges but have not agreed to EETT’s proposals regarding the size of the reductions or when they will come into effect. At a meeting last week, the companies agreed to submit their own proposals in regards to the reductions, so that negotiations may continue. EETT’s proposals targeted a gradual reduction of charges to about half their present level by end 2003. Calls from fixed-line to mobile phones operated by Vodafone or Telestet currently cost 0.32 euro per minute, and to those operated by CosmOTE, 0.29 euro. Of these charges, OTE, which operates the fixed-line network, retains a fee of 0.05 euro per minute. According to recent EU data, Greece has the second highest such charges among the member states of the EU, the USA and Japan. The operators have argued that this is because in Greece they are required to make much costlier investments than in other countries and that if they are forced to reduce fixed-line to mobile phone charges they may have to increase other charges in order to meet the cost of third-generation mobile phone networks. Kathimerini SA’s reply, released yesterday afternoon, said that, «we were informed through the media (about the) preliminary investigation of whether articles published by newspapers Eleftheros Typos and Eleftheros about Kathimerini SA’s shipping investment were founded. Kathimerini thanks the judiciary for… its intervention, because it will have the opportunity to contest, in the most formal manner, the creeping lies.»