Following an investigation by Italys telecoms watchdog, the Autorit per le telecomunicazioni, fixed-to-mobile phone calls will cost around a third less from 1 September. The Autorit concluded that Italys main mobile operators (TIM, WIND and VODAFONE) were overcharging Telecom Italia, which then passed the cost on to its customers, for access to mobiles from fixed lines. In a boost for consumer rights, a single rate will now apply, regardless of the network, both for the connection charge (which falls from 12 cents to 7.87 cents) and the minute rate (12 cents). Despite the reduction and improvement in price transparency, not everyone is pleased. The consumer group Altroconsumo has criticised Telecom for not doing more for its customers, stating that calls to the fourth operator 3 will actually go up as a result of the changes and cost twice the rate for similar calls to TIM and Vodafone. In another swipe at the telecoms behemoth, it claims costs in Italy are still higher than in other European countries, especially the UK where fixed-to-mobile calls are 35 per cent less.
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