Charges for calls to European mobile phones are among the most expensive in the world, analysts have reported.
TMG's data shows that the average mobile termination rate (MTR), the amount paid by network operators for calls to a mobile phone, is $0.162 per minute in Europe, $0.131 in the Americas, but only $0.048 in Asia, the cheapest region for mobile users.
Almost all countries in Europe have MTRs higher than the global average of $0.142 per minute, TMG's research shows.
For example, calls to mobiles in the UK cost network operators an average of $0.167 per minute, and calls to mobile phones in Switzerland are a sky-high $0.279 putting them among the highest in the world.
These higher charges are often passed on to consumers, and amount to billions of dollars worldwide.
Rates vary so wildly from country to country that it is sometimes much cheaper to make an international call in Europe than to call a mobile phone in the same town.
"The rates, and their implicit underlying relation to retail pricing, sometimes defy logic," TMG's report stated, noting that higher mobile rates have been explained with a variety of arguments, such as network operators' need to defray infrastructure costs.
High charges are not certain to generate more income for network operators, TMG found. "Operators in Asia can operate with lower termination rates because their usage is much higher," TMG research analyst Michael Minges, the report's co-author, told vnunet.com.
"The rates in Europe are higher because operators there have a philosophy that mobile termination rates are a source of revenue rather than a cost."
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