CRT cuts max fixed to mobile fee 50%

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Colombia's telecoms sector regulator CRT has upheld a decree cutting the maximum per minute fee for fixed to mobile calls by half, to 464 pesos (US$0.24) before VAT, CRT said in a statement.

After tax, fixed line users will pay 538 pesos a minute. The new rates will take effect Wednesday.

This is the first of two reductions planned by the CRT for this year. On November 1, the same fee will be further dropped to a maximum of 392 pesos before tax (454 pesos with tax included), CRT said.

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The regulation was supposed to come into effect on November 1, 2005, but was pushed back three months at the request of mobile operators in order to modify their platforms.

During this lapse mobile companies offered customers special rates that went as low as 130 pesos a minute, and then asked CRT to withdraw the 464 peso decree, arguing that lower fees had been achieved without regulation.

CRT rejected the request however, citing the fact that the lower tariffs were being offered for a limited time only, and furthermore were burdensome to users, requiring them to pre-register their phones, have calls routed through certain carriers, or place calls by way of a call center.