While the incumbent operator usually enjoys a monopoly on fixed telecom network facilities in the local loop, most countries have two or more operators with their own facilities in other network segments e.g. in the core network or in the mobile network. The various types of interconnection will therefore be subject to various degrees of competition. This has implications for the kind of remedies to be used on the various markets. While price regulation may be necessary in some markets without real competition, demands for access obligation and non-discrimination may be sufficient on other markets. On some markets competition may be so well developed that regulation may become unnecessary.
It is however important not to treat interconnection with mobile networks as one market. The markets for fixed-to-mobile, mobile-to-mobile and mobile-to-fixed are different markets, the levels of competition on these markets will often be very different, and each market must be assessed independently. In particular the market for termination of fixed call in mobile networks has been of concern, as the charges for this type of termination sometimes are three times as high as the charge for termination of mobile calls in fixed networks. Such differences cannot be explained by cost differences but are due to the fact that the markets for these two products are very different. Every mobile operator enjoys a monopoly on termination of calls in his own network, while there is competition in offering the lowest charges on outgoing calls.
National and international roaming creates a particular challenge to regulators. National roaming is of particular importance, if some operators lack full national coverage of their own network. National roaming can in this situation be used to extend geographical coverage of their services. This will in particular help new entrants and thereby facilitate more competition. On the other hand it may delay expansion of network facilities. This impact may however be compensated through inclusion of specific demands to network coverage in licensing conditions.
Rates for international mobile communication are in general substantially higher than national rates, and the price gap goes far beyond what can be justified by the underlying costs. A Regulation of international roaming demands international cooperation.