Feeds

EC slams roaming charges

When in roam, do as the roamans do

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
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
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.