Feeds

EC slams roaming charges

When in roam, do as the roamans do

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Roaming charges in the EU are such a rip-off, many cross-border travellers simply switch off their phones when abroad.

These high charges are putting people off using their phones when away from home - and consumers want the EU to do something about it.

So says a new EuroBarometer survey, which found that European mobile phone users are paying between €4 and €6 for a four minute call abroad while roaming.

In some cases, prices for calls exceed €12 - an Irish customer in Malta could pay as much as €13.16 for a four-minute call home on their mobile.

Mobile phone owners admitted to researchers they used their phones less when abroad, particularly younger users and students. The overwhelming majority - 81 per cent - cited high costs as the biggest deterrent, while Polish and Slovenian users are most discouraged: 94 per cent of respondents from these countries said they slash their mobile use abroad.

More than two thirds of the nearly 25,000 EU citizens who took part in the survey - 70 per cent -- think the EU should intervene to make sure that roaming charges are not significantly more expensive than those at home.

Some 68 percent would support EU action to reduce SMS roaming charges, a figure that rises to 78 per cent among the 15-24 age group.

The prices are significantly affecting mobile use. About 15 per cent of mobile customers choose not to take their phones on holiday or switch them off completely, while 21 per cent use only text messages while abroad. However, 59 per cent of those surveyed say they would use their phones more when abroad if charges were lower.

"Excessively high prices restrict mobile usage while abroad. This hurts consumers, it hurts European industry, and it hurts Europe," said EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding.

"Reducing roaming prices is not only a political responsibility of the European Commission, but can also be an interesting business model, as demonstrated by some operators who have started to move in this direction in recent months with the introduction of special roaming packages."

Reding called on the mobile operators to help eliminate what she described as the "last visible border in Europe’s internal market".

"It is not acceptable that the burden of international mobile roaming continues to be shouldered by ordinary citizens who pay standard tariffs," she said.

Mobile networks in the EU have been warned repeatedly by the European Commission to reduce roaming charges within the EU, or face new regulations. The new legislation, which is currently being discussed in the European Parliament, would reduce charges for making and receiving calls abroad for both citizens and businesses, and benefit from enhanced competition among mobile operators. The rules could be in place by summer 2007.

In recent months, operators such as Three Ireland, Vodafone and O2 have abolished roaming charges between the Republic of Ireland and the UK, and some operators have introduced special packages for roaming abroad.

Three welcomed the European Commission's announcement that all mobile phone companies must reduce roaming charges across Europe. The group blames high retail roaming charges on the "unjustifiably high level" of wholesale international roaming rates.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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.