Rather than ensuring the redeemability of pre-paid funds to mobile operators, the good old Sinterklaas has chosen to ensure lower fees for all those who call from a fixed line to a mobile phone. Het Financieele Dagblad reported Saturday that the competition regulators (NMa and OPTA) have agreed with the mobile operators that their fees will be periodically lowered. As of January 1, the fee per minute will be lowered to 0,189 euro, then on December 1, 2004 to 0,155 euro per minute and on december 1, 2005 to 0,11 euro.
What's interesting is that in this discussion no-one expects the fee to be 0 cents, while in similar discussions in the banking sector, that is sort of the baseline. Fortis Belgium recently introduced payment fees for getting cash at the Fortis ATM, for a small subset of its customers. While the fee is as low as 0,06 euro and while Fortis allows alternative pricing packages, this action caused considerable public debate. It's an interesting world.