Dispute between Stour Marine Ltd and O2 UK Ltd concerning termination rates

23 August 2010

Dispute between: Stour Marine Limited (Stour Marine) and O2 UK Limited (O2)
Case opened: 12 February 2010
Case closed: 11 June 2010
Issue: Stour Marine asked Ofcom to resolve a dispute under section 185(1) of the Communications Act 2003 (the Act) between Stour Marine and O2 in relation to the termination rate payable by O2 for voice calls originating on the O2 network and terminating on the Stour Marine network.
Relevant instrument: Ofcom resolved this dispute using its powers under Chapter 3 of Part 2 of the Act.

Update note 23 August 2010

On 11 August 2010, Everything Everywhere Limited (which comprises the businesses of previously independent entities Orange Personal Communications Services Ltd and T-Mobile (UK) Ltd, the latter of which was an interested party to this dispute) filed an appeal with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) against Ofcoms determination to resolve this dispute. Details of the appeal can be found on the CATs website at http://www.catribunal.org.uk/.

End of update

On 11 June 2010 Ofcom issued a final determination under sections 188 and 190 of the Act resolving this dispute to the parties in dispute and the parties which registered as interested parties. Please see related items for the non-confidential version of the final determination.

Update note 21 May 2010

On 20 May 2010, Ofcom issued a draft determination to the parties and interested parties in relation to this dispute (please see related item). Ofcom will be consulting on its proposals until 5 pm on 3 June 2010.

Please submit responses by this date to:

Matthew Peake
Ofcom
Riverside House
2A Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA
Or by e-mail to matthew.peake@ofcom.org.uk

End of update note

Stour Marine and O2 have failed to agree the level of the termination rate charged for the termination for voice calls originating on O2's network and terminating on Stour Marine's network. While Stour Marine has indicated the minimum termination rate that it requires, O2 does not believe that this is appropriate and favours a significantly lower rate.

Ofcom considers that, on the face of the referral, there appears to be a dispute between the parties that commercial negotiations have failed to resolve. As there are no alternative means available for resolving the dispute which are likely to bring about a prompt and satisfactory resolution, Ofcom has accepted this dispute for resolution in accordance with section 186 of the Act.

In resolving disputes Ofcom must act in accordance with the six Community requirements that give effect to Article 8 of the Framework Directive.
In summary, those requirements are:

  • to promote competition in communications markets;
  • to secure that Ofcom contributes to development of the European internal market;
  • to promote the interests of all European Union citizens;
  • to act in a manner which, so far as practicable, is technology-neutral;
  • to encourage, to the extent Ofcom considers it appropriate, the provision of network access and service interoperability; and
  • to encourage such compliance with certain international standards as is necessary for facilitating service interoperability and securing freedom of choice for the customers of communications providers.

Scope of the dispute:

The scope of the dispute is to determine the termination rate payable by O2 for voice calls originating on O2's network and terminating on Stour Marine's network.

Procedural matters:

Guidance on the resolution of the dispute can be found in Ofcom's Guidelines for the handling of competition complaints, and complaints and disputes about breaches of conditions imposed under the EU Directives.

All representations on the scope of the dispute should be submitted to Ofcom by 5 pm on 22 February 2010.

Stakeholders interested in the outcome of this dispute should notify Ofcom by 5 pm on 22 February 2010 describing the relevance of the outcome of the dispute to their business.

Stakeholders with information and evidence relevant to this dispute should submit this to Ofcom by 8 March 2010.

Stakeholders who wish Ofcom to join them as parties to the dispute must provide evidence that they are in dispute, as set out in Ofcom's Guidelines.

Case Leader: Matthew Peake (e-mail: Matthew.Peake@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference: CW/01041/12/09