The more I think about it, the more I reckon that the differential between fixed and mobile interconnect rates is going to be a distortion, as FMC and related business models become more prevalent. Listening to a conference presentation this morning (credit
a very knowledgeable competitor of mine from Ovum) I realised that the whole thing hinges on the notion of interconnect being "cost based". Now obviously operators are going to fiddle around the edges to get the actual cost down a bit below the regulator-envisioned baseline, but it's not designed to be blown completely out of the water by VoIP.
Apparently there was a discussion a few years ago about the possibly differing cost structures on termination via 2G and 3G, although nothing much resulted.
This time around, though, I think things may be different. I'd suggest that mere numbering (07xxx and so on) should be considered an inappropriate basis for calculating fair interconnect prices. There should perhaps be an extra dimension for network/device type used for termination, or some other indicator of the real cost. Given the speed at which FMC and VoIP technologies are evolving, it would have to be a mechanism that could easily be updated. Perhaps something like:
type-1 interconnect = completed via cellular call
type-2 = via public wifi
type 3 = via private home/office wifi
type 4 = via wimax
type 5 = to a pc client over broadband
type 6 = to voicemail server & message downloaded over IP
type 7 = call forked & terminated in 2 places
type N = whatever's invented in 2009
Now I'm sure that any moves towards this sort of model would (a) be very complex, and (b) would induce screams of anger from companies with business models playing games with current termination fees. But given the legal basis for such fees is supposed to be "cost based" I reckon that there needs to be something a bit more sophisticated and granular than just mobile vs. fixed. It may even need to be multi-variable to account for differences in peering as well as transport.
I wonder if any of the interconnect billing & mediation vendors have thought about this.....