“Let us raise our prices”. The request of telephone operators

L’inflation is on the rise and expands its jerseys also to telephony. The telephone operators followed the scenarios in silence but now something has changed. WindTre wrote to the Authority for Guarantees in Communications (Agcom) asking to be able to align telephone and Internet tariffs with inflation.

The request dates back to June 20 that has just passed, but it has been evidenced only in the last few hours and is signed by the first mobile telephone operator in Italy, also active on the fixed network market for both voice and Internet. The consequences will also affect those who rely on other operators mobile phone, why WindTre sells infrastructure to various providers active in Italy.

What WindTre asked Agcom

WindTre wants to recover inflation at least in part, by adjusting rates annually of all the services it provides. It is inspired by the Tim model which wants to apply VAT-indexed prices to those operators to whom it sells the technologies and network infrastructures.

In Italy there are four operators which have a proprietary network: Tim, Vodafone, WindTre and mostly Iliad (which in some cases relies on WindTre). All the other operators are defined virtual precisely because, having no infrastructures, they use those of the four who own them.

This means that tweaking rates upward would result in a general increase appliedaccording to logics yet to be defined, by most (if not all) of the operators active in Italy.

Because we need an ad hoc regulation

In the absence of rules that differentiate the increase in tariffs for indexation to inflation from any other tariff increase, caution is required. Any operator can adjust prices when they want but under the aegis of current laws that would allow the end customer to change operator without paying penalties, as happens when a unilateral contract change occurs. Still remaining in the area of ​​the laws in force, the operator wishing to raise prices must notify customers at least two months in advance.

WindTre instead, he calls for a regulation apart, which allows inflation to be linked to the telephony contract, thus losing the characteristic canonical of the unilateral contract modification and taking away from the customer the right to switch to the competition without further costs.

The position of AgCom

The Guarantor takes on the role of the great sage and, as always happens, takes the time to reflect or investigate. The probability that a round of consultations is high as it is plausible that they can express their opinions both operators of telephony and internet, both associations for the defense of consumers.

There are some parameters on which Agcom has power of full supervision: by law, operators cannot espouse pricing policies below cost, so as not to unleash a trade war that tends too low, creating damage to the economy and to the services provided. If the operators were able to demonstrate that inflation (reached 8% on an annual basis) pushes them in a position to reduce margins to the limit, then the Guarantor should give its approval.

Then there is the superpartes role of Agcom, which will have to supervise the correct one application of surcharges so that they are real, i.e. indexed to inflation and not to inflationary forecasts or to unrealistic values ​​of the increase in prices and, last but not least, it will have to ensure that, with the stopping of the inflationary race and with the possible contraction of the cost of living, operators review tariffs downwards.

One last question, which we raise here for the benefit of the reader: it would be necessary in our opinion to create rules that protect those consumers which have both a fixed line and a mobile line provided by the same operator. The thought goes to the most economically weak segments of the population: if the indexation to inflation were to make the cost of both lines (fixed and mobile) unbearable, then the customer could decide to rescind one without penalty.

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“Let us raise our prices”. The request of telephone operators

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