New ITU-T work to guide regulatory intervention in mobile roaming rates

Foto Foro 2014Standardization experts representing the Latin American and Caribbean region have initiated work on a new standard (ITU-T Recommendation) to outline methodological principles for the definition of mobile roaming charges. The standard will offer administrations the tools necessary to determine and mandate affordable roaming charges in cases calling for regulatory intervention.

The decision to develop a new international standard on mobile roaming was taken at a meeting of the SG3 Regional Group for Latin America and the Caribbean (SG3RG-LAC) held in San José, Costa Rica, 13-14 March, at the invitation of the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (SUTEL) of Costa Rica. The meeting followed the Regional Economic and Financial Forum of Telecommunications/ICTs for Latin America organized by ITU’s Development Sector (ITU-D).

SG3RG-LAC represents the interests of the Latin American and Caribbean region in the standardization work of ITU-T Study Group 3 (Economic and policy issues). The group’s agreement to prolong its study into mobile roaming rates mirrors the emphasis afforded to the subject by a recent meeting of the SG3 Regional Group for Africa (SG3RG-AFR) (read news on the February meeting of SG-AFR here).

SG3RG-LAC will build on Recommendation ITU-T D.98 “Charging in international mobile roaming service” in its analysis of various methodologies for the definition of mobile roaming rates, with the ultimate goal of drafting a standard to guide regulators in their calculation of reference values for affordable international mobile roaming rates.

The group’s San José meeting also launched work on a new standard to detail best practices in the definition and operation of Universal Service Funds – funds typically intended to ensure universal broadband service to vulnerable groups, underserved rural areas and public schools, hospitals and libraries. The standard is expected to provide guiding principles on the defining attributes of a Universal Service Fund, the branches of society requiring access to such funds, and how such funds should be financed, governed and operated.

Another key outcome of the meeting was agreement to renew SG3RG-LAC’s study into the revision of Recommendation ITU-T D.400 R “Accounting rates applicable to direct traffic relations in voice telephony between countries in Latin America and the Caribbean”, including within the study’s scope a more general analysis of costing methodologies.

Meeting participants also suggested that a working group on international Internet connectivity revisit the draft Recommendation ITU-T D.51 on the use of the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to compute international traffic flows among autonomous systems, in addition suggesting that work on ‘alternative calling procedures’ would best be complemented by an improved understanding of the economic impact of over-the-top (OTT) services.

The next meeting of SG3RG-LAC is provisionally scheduled for April 2015 in Trinidad and Tobago.

More information on ITU-T Study Group 3 and its four Regional Groups can be found here…

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