Feeds

European roaming campaign gathers pace

Backed by regulators

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

This week the European Commission underlined its call for reduced roaming charges from cellular operators across Europe, by launching a website giving details of some of the outrageous charges that are still operating between European operators.

The website launch comes after criticisms from the GSM Association that the EU was out of date, claiming that charges had already changed dramatically reduced.

Instead, the new website shows continued excessive roaming charges with some that have risen during the past year instead of falling, as the GSMA claimed.

The updated website clearly shows that the price for a standard four minute call has generally remained at the same high level across Europe since September 2005 and in some cases has even increased, despite warnings from the commission to the industry that EU-wide regulation would be necessary if prices were not brought down.

The EC Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding recently proposed the introduction of an EU regulation to be fast tracked by next year to eliminate unjustified roaming charges.

"We strongly support Commissioner Reding’s commitment to address this enduring problem”, added Kip Meek, chief policy partner at Ofcom, the UK telecom regulator, who is also president of the European Regulators Group (ERG), the body which brings together the EU’s 25 national telecom regulators and advises the commission.

"The ERG is very committed to working together with commissioner Reding to come up with a practical, proportionate and speedy mechanism for getting retail roaming prices down by a substantial margin."

The updated commission website just a few days ago is available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish and shows that for a four minute call, roaming prices still vary from as little as €0.20 for a Finnish consumer calling home from Sweden, to €13.05 for a four minute call by a Maltese consumer in Latvia. In some cases, roaming prices have even increased over the past six months and one UK operator has just increased the price for roaming from €3.45 to €4.92 when consumers call home across the EU.

The new EU regulation will address wholesale prices based on actual cost to the local operator and ensure that operator savings at the wholesale level are actually passed on to the consumer. And one of the most controversial ideas is that the new regulation may get rid of payments made by the recipient of a call when traveling overseas in the EU.

Another idea under discussion is the "home pricing" principle, whereby a mobile customer traveling abroad in the EU would always be charged only the prices that he is used to paying in his country of residence. Currently, when a call is routed from one overseas visitor to another standing next to him, the payment is based on the call being routed back through his home country, whereas in fact it is routed through just the local base station after an initial look up.

The commission has already held a first phase of consultations on the general idea of an EU regulation on international roaming and will now prepare a new regulation for voting by the European Parliament.

Copyright © 2006, Faultline

Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.