Decision reached on Tesco / Three Mobile dispute

Three and Tesco mobile have had a long-running dispute over call charges.

Three and Tesco mobile have had a long-running dispute over call charges.

The communications regulator has issued a judgement on the dispute between Tesco and Three Mobile, which has seen Three customers blocked from calling those on the Tesco network.

The regulator found that the revised call disconnection charges Tesco Mobile proposed it would levy against Three were “consistent with the price necessary to resolve this dispute”.

The dispute between the two mobile operators was based around the ‘Mobile Termination Rate’ (MTR) Tesco wanted to charge Three, which the latter claimed was too high.

MTRs are the fees operators charge each other for carrying calls on their networks, i.e. calls that are made by Three customers to Tesco customers.

Negotiations between the two networks have been ongoing since Tesco Mobile launched in Ireland in 2007 and earlier this year the case was taken to ComReg. Both operators have previously agreed to adhere to whatever findings the regulator made.

The exact amount initially requested by Tesco – as well as the rate now deemed reasonable by ComReg – have not been revealed for competition reasons.

However Three have said in the past the initial MTR requested by Tesco was well in excess of the market norm and much higher than that charged by O2, which hosts the Tesco Mobile network.

While resolution on the dispute will be welcomed by customers it is unclear when the findings of the ComReg report will be implemented and when Three customers can call those subscribed to Tesco.

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