Feeds

Final deal close on EU roaming rates

UK lobbies for cellcos

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Roaming charges are set to plummet after European ministers supported plans to cap the fees, but some countries are supporting watered down proposals.

EU Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding wants to cut prices by up to 70 percent before next summer, allowing European mobile users to make cheaper phone calls on their summer holidays.

The move is no surprise to industry watchers - the Commission put forward the proposal in July, claiming that the prices charged to roam on networks when abroad were excessive.

However, it is not yet a done deal - Britain, backed by France, is also trying to throw a spanner in the works. UK Industry minister Margaret Hodge claims enforced price cuts would be too much for the phone companies to bear, and is instead seeking more time for mobile operators to adopt voluntary price cuts. This could delay the introduction of regulation.

Some 14 countries preferred that the regulation of the industry be introduced only as a last resort. However, Reding is not keen on the idea, as she claims it would be too complex to monitor the price cuts of the individual tariffs of each mobile operator to see if they had fallen enough.

The proposed cap will also be debated by the European Parliament. "The first reading of the European Parliament is expected to be completed in the first quarter 2007. The new EU regulation can therefore be expected to enter into effect before the end of the German Presidency (end of June 2007)," the Telecoms council said in a statement.

The meeting on Monday discussed issues such as how much scope operators should have at wholesale level to deal with roaming charges, what services the price regulation should cover and how much regulation should be put in place at retail level.

However, while consumers may be eagerly awaiting the price cuts, the mobile operators have strongly resisted the moves. They have also made some progress towards cutting the charges themselves. Irish operators O2, Vodafone and Three Ireland have abolished roaming charges across Ireland and Britain. Roaming charges around the EU have also fallen by about 18 per cent, but this was not sufficient to stop Reding introducing the proposed regulation.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
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
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
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.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.