Monday, July 28, 2003

The telco-sector as an example for banks...?

Quite often, the telecommunications sector is taken as an example for discussions on open payment networks and interchange and transport fees for bank/authorization messages. Right now, the Dutch Telco authority (OPTA) has issued a ruling on fees. It is applicable to KPN, the monopoly provider of network to end-customers. But KPN today announced that it will fight this ruling with all legal and political means. It labeled the economic model used by the OPTA to determine reasonable fees: "the Utopia model'.

In the Dutch payment arena, we are almost ready for a similar discussion. One year ago the Dutch Competition Authority issued a consultation paper on pin-authorisation network services as part of a process to determine:

- if the pin-authorisation network should be opened up (open access and access conditions),

- what fees would be applicable (the preliminary NMa-findings are that current fees are too high).

Although the outcome of both the telco- and bank discussion may be unclear, it is quite obvious that open access and reasonable fees are becoming the norm. Providers might actually consider a form of dual accounting; one for business reasons and one for the discussion with regulators (the Utopia models...).