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Broadband

Italy's Agcom blocks 28-day fixed line bills

Monday 27 March 2017 | 09:22 CET | News

Italian communications regulator Agcom has ordered operators to stop charging fixed telephony customers on a 28-day rather than on a monthly basis. In a decision taken following a meeting of the watchdog’s board on 15 March, Agcom said Vodafone and Wind must abolish the 28-day fixed-line, DSL or fibre-optic bills they have already introduced, while Telecom Italia and Fastweb must block their recently-announced plans to do the same. Operators have been given 90 days to adapt to the ruling, which was taken to guarantee “the effective protection of users in view of problems encountered in terms of transparency and comparability of information… as well as control of consumption,” said Agcom. The watchdog specified that the measure also covers convergent bills, although operators will be allowed to charge mobile only customers over periods of “no less than 28 days” as long as they are informed of the renewal of the offer via an SMS.

Agcom’s move comes after TIM announced that it would start charging fixed telephony customers on a 28-day rather than a monthly basis starting from 01 April, resulting in an annual price increase of 8.6 percent a year for subscribers. However, industry association Asstel reacted to the watchdog’s decision by claiming it had no legal basis for such an intervention. “Agcom has no power to regulate the content of contractual relationships between telephone operators and customers – such as the duration of renewal and billing cycles – and can only intervene to protect customers with regard to transparency,” said Asstel in a statement, adding that users have the right to cancel within 30 days of receiving notice of the new 28-day billing cycle.



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