Feeds

EC slams roaming charges

When in roam, do as the roamans do

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.