Feeds

EU cuts roaming charges

Finally punts plan to slash prices

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

The EU has announced details of its plan to slash the cost of using a mobile phone abroad by up to 70 per cent.

The wholesale cost will be capped based on the cost of the termination rate for calls, which varies from country to country. The EU would annually review an average of this value to set the cap. Then, the mark-up at retail will be limited to 30 per cent. The caps will apply to calls both made and received while abroad.

Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding, whose department drew up the proposals, said today: "For years, mobile roaming charges have remained at unjustifiably high levels, in spite of repeated warnings to the industry. This is why Europe needs to act now."

The commission had originally hoped to scrap roaming charges altogether, but ditched the plans when they were criticised by industry and regulators as unworkable.

Reding said: "I am convinced that reducing roaming charges will not only be beneficial for citizens travelling within the EU, but will also enhance the competitiveness of Europe's industry. Eighty per cent of roaming customers are businesses, and in particular small and medium sized companies suffer from this substantial cost factor when doing business within the internal market."

The GSM Association, which represent networks, said EU intervention was unneccessary. CEO Rob Conway said: "Its new proposals still amount to a straitjacket that will stifle innovation, dampen competition and ultimately harm consumers. The commission's plans would represent a far-reaching and unprecedented intervention in a market, which is clearly delivering for its customers." The industry argues the wholesale cap level will penalise operators who incur greater costs because of the geography of their patch.

Networks will also be forced to give punters better information, with full disclosure about charges on subscribing and regular updates. Text messaging will not be covered by the measures. See the commission's press release here.

The earliest the regulations could be applied is the summer of next year, following approval from both the EU Parliament and the council of national ministers. Heavy lobbying from operators between now and then is sure to seek to stall the process.

The commission hopes its measures will slash the total revenue European operators bring in from roaming charges from €8.5bn to €3.5bn. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer quits Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.