Feeds

European roaming campaign gathers pace

Backed by regulators

The essential guide to IT transformation

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The website launch comes after criticisms from the GSM Association that the EU was out of date, claiming that charges had already changed dramatically reduced.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

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.